Disgruntled ex-employee blamed for sewing needles found in strawberries

Disgruntled ex-employee blamed for sewing needles found in strawberries

Disgruntled ex-employee blamed for sewing needles found in strawberries

Canberrans who have bought fresh strawberries recently are being urged to check the brand after sewing needles were found in some berries interstate.

Punnets of Berry Obsession and Berry Licious strawberries were pulled from Woolworths shelves in Queensland, NSW and Victoria on Wednesday after reports of needles being found in strawberries.

Consumers in Queensland have been told to return or discard fruit due to the harmful contamination after a customer was rushed to a hospital after swallowing part of a needle in a strawberry.

"I found a needle, bit into it by accident and it snapped in half - or what felt like it snapped in half - and my knee jerk reaction was to swallow", the man told 7 News.

Stores will be throwing out strawberries now in stock but fresh produce will be available tomorrow, Dr Young said.

Those strawberries sold after Thursday are said to have been from a later shipment and are safe from the threat. "It makes it hard because you might need to dispose of them earlier, but just cut them up for safety's sake".

NSW Police Force has received reports of strawberries contaminated with sewing needles and pins purchased at supermarkets at Tweed Heads, Taree, and Wingham.

She said the punnets were both Delightful Strawberries branded product.

Det. Supt. Lawrence said officers were now identifying past and present employees of the two farms concerned, which involves more than 100 people, with plans to interview them.

These include Donnybrook strawberries and those sold by the Woolworths Group under the Berry Obsession and Berry Licious names.

She referred to the problem as "an isolated incident" and "sabotage".

THREE more cases of spiked strawberries have emerged affecting a second supplier from the Sunshine Coast.

"The contamination relates to what appears to be needles inserted in strawberries".

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 were investigating the possibility of an extortion attempt or someone carrying out a vendetta against the supermarket giant.

Investigations into a potential copy-cat incident is taking place after a silver rod was found in a strawberry punnet purchased at Gatton today.

Detective Acting Chief Superintendent Terry Lawrence told media that while the Strawberry Growers Association said they believed that disgruntled ex-employee may be responsible for the needles, police are "not agreeing with that at all at this point in time".

Woolworths said it takes food safety very seriously and is working closely with authorities as they investigate.

"A lot of people won't know the brand of strawberries they've bought ... if they do have any strawberries it would be safest to dispose of them".

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