Fifth case of strawberry contamination found in NSW

Troy Powers
September 16, 2018

Spiked strawberries have surfaced in Sydney, with a horrified shopper finding needles stuck inside three pieces of the fruit.

South West grower and market agent Paul Da Silva, from Grower Connect, said the wholesale price had fallen 50 to 70 per cent, compared with a week ago, even though WA had not imported strawberries from Queensland for a decade.

In Queensland, these are the only three brands which have been confirmed as contaminated.

It is believed the consumer had purchased the brand "Delightful" but returned it after a pin was found sticking out of the fruit, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Six brands of strawberries are now believed to be affected by needle and pin contamination according to police, including Donnybrook Berries, Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries, Oasis brands, Berry Obsession and Berry Licious.

These brands are sold in Coles, Woolworths and ALDI across Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

"Until advised, consumers should cut up strawberries before consuming them", Queensland state government said in a statement.

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The latest reports come as Queensland police are yet to determine who is spiking store-sold strawberries with needles.

Empty shelves, normally stocked with strawberry punnets, are seen at a Coles Supermarket in Brisbane on Friday.

Palaszczuk, the Queensland premier, told reporters that "those responsible could face up to 10 years' jail, if not more, for the crimes they are committing".

'But I would say to people, we produce 800,000 punnets a day and seven needles were found.

Farmers are pleading with consumers no to let this act of "food terrorism" damage the industry, and have urged people to continue buying berries and cut them up before eating as a precaution. You've got more chance of winning lotto than being affected'.

Amid the contamination, the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association on Wednesday said they suspected that the culprit was possibly a "disgruntled" former employee.