#AceNewsReport – Sept.17: One man in the state of Western Australia and a girl in South Australia reported finding needles in their strawberries in the past two days, according to police: Seven brands of strawberries in Australia are now believed to be contaminated with needles and pins, according to police reports, prompting warnings from authorities to slice the fruit before eating #AceNewsDesk reports
Picture: Queensland Strawberry Growers Association
Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart told reporters on Monday that it was unclear if the contamination was the result of a single person acting alone or several people acting independently and that tracing back through the complex supply chain was taking time:Consumers in Queensland were the first to report finding needles embedded inside strawberries.
“A member of the public today presented at York Police Station to report his concerns that a needle had been in a punnet of strawberries,” the Western Australian police said in a statement………………“The member of the public advised he located the needle in his sink after preparing strawberries for his family. He did not recall the needle being in the sink prior to preparing the strawberries.” ………….South Australian police meanwhile said that they were advising members of the public to check punnets of Mal’s Black Label strawberries following a report of a needle found inside the fruit on Sunday morning.
“When the fruit was consumed this morning, a needle was found inside one of the strawberries. There were no reported injuries,” state police said. Police in both states are investigating……………..Both of New Zealand’s biggest supermarket chains decided on Monday to halt Australian strawberry orders for now, even though the country’s Ministry of Primary Industries confirmed none of the contaminated strawberry brands had made it on to shop shelves………………….Australian police said the contaminated fruit appeared to have originated at a Queensland-based supplier. Queensland is a major strawberry producer in a national industry worth more than A$130 million ($93.22 million) a year.
Woolworths Group has removed all the affected brands from shelves in its supermarkets, but continues to sell other varieties of the fruit.
Jamie Michael, who is head of the Western Australia Strawberry Growers Association, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp that his farm had dumped strawberries in the peak of the season and that if shoppers stayed away, some growers would not be able to afford to plant a crop for next year: Reuters: https://t.me/reuters_news/55984 Published:September.17:2018: Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Christian Schmollinger
Sewing needles have been found in six brands of strawberries sold at Woolworths in four Australian states.
Queensland authorities warned people who bought the Berry Obsession, Berry Licious, Love Berry, Donnybrook Berries, Delightful Strawberries, and Oasis brands of strawberries in Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria to throw the punnets out or return to the place of purchase.
They advised that affected packs would have expired and are no longer available to purchase. However, consumers are urged to check their refrigerators and freezers for stored product and dispose of any food which may contain this product.
The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association said it had reason to suspect that a disgruntled ex-employee may be behind the incident. The group added it was waiting on more information from Queensland Police and will update the public as news becomes available.
Queensland Health issued advice applicable to all strawberries, saying the fruit is safe to purchase but until advised, consumers should cut them up before consumption.
The Queensland Police Service said it was investigating the contamination relating to sewing needles inserted in strawberries. Police are liaising with retailers to ensure that all stock is removed from sale.
Investigators said there are four contamination incidents, two each in Queensland and Victoria. Australian media reported a man in Queensland was hospitalized after swallowing part of a needle and developing abdominal pain.
Queensland’s chief health officer Dr. Jeannette Young said anyone else who had bought the brands of strawberries without signs of tampering should return them to the store or throw them away.
“While it is expected that berries picked early last week would now not be useable, many people freeze the fruit for later use. If you are in doubt, just throw them out. Any strawberries bought from 13 September are safe. Any strawberries that you are certain are not the brands Berry Licious and Berry Obsession, are safe,” she said.
She added there was no reason to stop eating strawberries but the public needed to be aware of the incident.
Woolworths said it takes food safety very seriously and is working closely with authorities as they investigate. The supermarket withdrew Berry Obsession and Berrylicious branded strawberries from sale and advised consumers to return these products to their local branch for a full refund.
Police are also making inquiries into a suspected copycat incident as part of the investigation into the contamination of strawberries in Queensland.
The incident, reported at a supermarket in Gatton, involves the discovery of a thin metal object in a punnet of strawberries. Acting Detective Chief Superintendent Terry Lawrence said this appeared to be a copycat incident, but police are keeping an open mind.
NSW Police Force has received reports of strawberries contaminated with sewing needles and pins purchased at supermarkets at Tweed Heads, Taree, and Wingham.
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: https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2018/09/police-investigating-after-needles-found-in-australian-strawberries/
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