Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Markets | By Erika Turner

Fifth case of strawberry contamination found in NSW

Fifth case of strawberry contamination found in NSW

It's a crime so unusual that any motive seems almost inconceivable.

Despite the nation-wide fear, strawberry farmers have asked consumers to still purchase strawberries but chop them up the first.

The needles were discovered in three strawberries in a single punnet, which a customer had bought from Coles in Engadine in Sydney's south.

Reports out of three Aussie states have strawberry lovers checking their fresh fruit carefully.

There have now been more than 10 cases of pins or needles found in strawberries reported nationally.

The Queensland Government has put out a $100,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the culprit behind the contamination of the strawberries. "It is simply unacceptable".

Health officials in Australia are warning citizens to cut up strawberries before eating them after people reported finding needles inside the berries. "I am furious about this".

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"As the products have yet to be forensically examined, it is unknown if the contamination is related to the original Queensland incident or a copycat", NSW police said in a statement late Friday. The broadcaster also said wholesale prices have dropped by around half.

"With strawberries you need to continue picking them", he told ABC.

The Berry Obsession, Berry Licious, Donnybrook Berries, Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries and Oasis brands of strawberries are believed to be affected, according to the police, who said the contaminated fruit appeared to have originated at a Queensland-based supplier. You've got more chance of winning lotto than being affected'.

Jennifer Rowling of the Queensland Strawberry Growers' Association said she believed the strawberries had been "interfered with".

"We are looking at points of the chain from growth all the way to distribution into the stores, we're keeping a very open mind", he said.

WA strawberry growers have urged local shoppers not to avoid their produce after sales plummeted and prices crashed because of the sewing needle contamination in Queensland.

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