'Disgruntled Employee' Accused of Putting Sewing Needles in Strawberries: Cops

Irving Hamilton
September 16, 2018

NSW Police are warning the contamination may have spread beyond the Berry Obsession, Berry Licious and Donnybrook brands confirmed by Queensland Police.

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.

Health authorities are urging people to cut up strawberries to make sure they are safe to eat and police want anyone who finds a needle to contact them.

"They are also contacting the supplier, the police and health and safety", Gane stated.

The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association says a disgruntled farm worker may be responsible, as the two brands affected, Berry Obsession and Berrylicious, came from the same farm.

"People can go back and buy the strawberries they normally buy, from anywhere", she said.

The farms are not related to the farm packaging strawberries under the Berry Licious and Berry Obsession brands which was hit with a needle crisis earlier in the week.

Investigators are looking at "all options and avenues of the packaging and processing of the strawberries", Queensland Police Acting Detective Chief Superintendent Terry Lawrence told 9NEWS.

The first reported cases of contaminated strawberries were sold at Woolworths supermarkets in Queensland, NSW, and Victoria.

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Police believe the incident is a copycat. "It makes it hard because you might need to dispose of them earlier, but just cut them up for safety's sake".

Angela said both she and Aaron were shocked, but thankful that Mason and Koby-Rose were not injured.

On Friday, Queensland Health announced strawberries from Donnybrook farms, north of Brisbane, were being pulled from supermarket shelves after three incidents - two on Thursday, and one on Friday.

In the post, Ms Faugeras said her 10-year-old discovered a pin embedded in a strawberry while eating a punnet they had bought from the Coles store at Wingham.

While the needles found in the initial attack had been inserted inside the fruit, the latest punnet had a metal rod placed inside the punnet, which had been purchased by a staff member on Thursday morning.

"We are working closely with our local and interstate counterparts as the investigation continues and are committed to keeping the public informed as this progresses".

Queensland Strawberry Growers industry development officer Jennifer Rowling told Fairfax on Wednesday the industry was reeling this week. "We're not agreeing with that at all at this particular point in time; our investigation is still open", he said.

Meanwhile, a NSW mother revealed her ten-year-old child discovered sabotaged fruit in a case yet unconfirmed by police.

You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers, a registered charity and community volunteer organisation, by calling 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppersqld.com.au 24hrs per day.

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