Strawberry scandal spreads to WA with needle found in York

Strawberry scandal spreads to WA with needle found in York

Strawberry scandal spreads to WA with needle found in York

Authorities in Australia on Thursday said they had four confirmed incidents of "contaminated strawberries" after an individual reportedly discovered a needle inside a berry after taking a bite.

Previously, nearly a dozen incidents were reported in six brands of strawberries across six states and territories.

One man was taken to hospital after eating a strawberry with a needle inside.

Danny Holdsworth, marketing manager for the WA grower, said the report of the needles being found were "devastating" for the company.

Australian police said the contaminated fruit appeared to have originated at a Queensland-based supplier.

"The low life scum who think it somehow amusing to put needles in strawberries I think should be chucked in jail as soon as they're identified", Nationals MP Andrew Broad said.

Australia has some of the world's strictest biosecurity measures and stringent food safety rules.

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It comes as the head of the industry peak body warns about a dozen Queensland strawberry growers are likely to go under this year and more could follow if the fallout from the needle crisis spreads.

Two contaminated punnets of Mal's Black Label strawberries have been found in separate towns outside Adelaide, with the latest in Morphett Vale.

Queensland police are still working to find the perpetrators, and are "keeping a very open mind" as they interview more than 100 people to find suspects, according to Business Insider Australia.

The brands involved are Berry Obsession, Berry Licious, Love Berry, Donnybrook Berries, Delightful Strawberries, and Oasis.

Australia's Department of Health ordered a review into the handling of strawberries after fruit containing sewing needles was found in supermarkets across the country.

Others fear the rising number of cases is down to copycats.

Hoani Hearne, 21, also found a needle inside a strawberry after buying a punnet from Strathpine Centre Woolworths north of Brisbane.

The vast majority of strawberries in Australia's AU$130m (€80m) industry are produced for the domestic market.

Vice-president of the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association, Adrian Schultz, says a single act of "commercial terrorism" has brought a multi-million-dollar industry to its knees.

Queensland Police told national broadcaster ABC the contamination of the strawberries - usually sold in small plastic boxes called punnets - was done "obviously to injure somebody".

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