Sewing needles have been found DELIBERATELY hidden inside strawberries

Cornelia Mascio
Settembre 16, 2018

Angela and Aaron Stevenson's nine-year-old son Mason bit into one of the spiked strawberries at school on Tuesday, while Angela discovered the other needle while cutting up fruit for her 12-month-daughter.

Hoani Hearne, 21, was rushed to the hospital Sunday with "severe abdominal pains", according to a friend, Joshua Gane, who posted about the incident on Facebook.

Needles have been found in strawberries sold in Woolworths stores.

Authorities said that the contaminated strawberries-branded Berrylicious and Berry Obsession-came from two farms located next to each other in south-east Queensland.

Police have been unable to confirm whether the contaminated products are linked to the original contamination in Queensland or a copycat, however they are urging anyone who has purchased contaminated products to take the punnet to their local police station immediately for forensic testing.

Acting Queensland Chief Superintendent of the State Crime Command Terry Lawrence said the evidence indicates the act was "obviously" meant to injure others.

Police are also investigating a copycat saboteur after a Coles employee at a Gatton store, about 90 kilometres west of Brisbane, found a "small silver rod" on top of strawberries in a punnet. "We'd be lucky at the moment to get between $3-4 a kilo", Mr Schultz said last month.

Where have people found needles in their strawberries?

In a follow-up statement released on Facebook Thursday, the group said the strawberries were seemingly "interfered with between the time they were packed and the time they were purchased".

"At this time, the Queensland Strawberry Association have reason to suspect that a disgruntled ex-employee may have orchestrated the occurrence, wherein sewing needles were found in a number of strawberries, in Queensland and Victoria", Industry Development Officer Jennifer Rowling said.

The advice was late on Thursday (Sept 13) expanded after police in Australia's north east said they had received four complaints about needles with Donnybrook branded strawberries.

Strawberries from Berry Obsession and Berry Licious have been contaminated with sewing needles.

Chief Superintendent Lawrence said those responsible for contaminating the fruit could be charged with maliciously causing grievous bodily harm, an offence which carries up to 10 years' imprisonment if convicted.

"Until advised, consumers should cut up strawberries before consuming them", Queensland Health later said in a statement posted on Twitter.

"Strawberries are a great fruit, and people should continue to buy them, but everyone should simply cut them up".

But the bottom line is: If in doubt, throw them out.

Authorities said on September 13 that they believe that they had mitigated enough risk for customers to buy strawberries again, as all stock had been replaced.

"We just really want to reinforce that it was one farm that's been affected - the two labels within the one farm, and all those strawberries have been pulled off the shelves", she has told ABC radio.

Anyone with information should contact Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.

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