Coles and Aldi pull strawberry supply amid needle sabotage

Coles and Aldi pull strawberry supply amid needle sabotage

"Someone is trying to sabotage the industry but also in doing that, they are putting babies' and children's and families' lives at risk", Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said at a press conference, where she confirmed the reward.

"We're not going to stand for it".

Queensland Police are now heading an investigation aimed at tracking down the source of the needles.

Among the reports cited by the BBC are a 9-year-old boy who's said to have bit into a strawberry with a needle (he didn't swallow it) and a 21-year-old man who reportedly went to the ER after he ingested half a needle and experienced "severe abdominal pain". He is being assessed by medics but his condition is not known. "The contamination relates to what appears to be needles inserted in strawberries".

Contaminated punnets have been found across the country, in supermarkets in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.

The needle scare started with the Berry Obsession, Berry Licious and Donnybrook brands, but has since expanded to include three more brands - Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries and Oasis.

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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".

Police have urged consumers who have bought an affected punnet to take it to police for forensic examination.

Dr. Jeannette Young, Queensland's chief health officer, said the Donnybrook brand would be pulled from store shelves.

In a statement, the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association said it had "reason to suspect" that a disgruntled former employee was responsible for placing needles in the strawberries.

ABC reported that as consumers have shied away from purchasing the fruit over fears it will be contaminated with needles, farmers have ended up throwing out mass quantities of the strawberries they can't sell.

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