Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

'If in doubt, throw them out': Needles in strawberries prompt warning

'If in doubt, throw them out': Needles in strawberries prompt warning

While the brands behind the initial incident were taken from shelves, authorities said the affected punnets would have expired, but people should check their fridges and freezers for stored strawberries and dispose of them.

"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.

"We then checked the other strawberries and found another sewing needle lodged inside one of them".

Photo from a Facebook Post by Joshua Gane showing the needle he found in a punnet of Woolworths strawberries bought from Strathpine, Queensland on September 9, 2018. We are now at the ER because he subsequently started experiencing severe abdominal pain.

On the same day, Gane received a phone call from the Strathpine Woolworths store manager telling him that a recall of the product had been issued for the store. The supplier, police and health and safety officials have also been contacted.

"They rang me back not even five minutes later and said it was too late, he'd bitten into it and he had found a needle".

"Customers are advised to return these products to their local Woolworths for a full refund".

It is understood the brands are sold in stores in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.

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

'At this time, the Queensland Strawberry Growers 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, ' the statement read.

Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said anyone who had Berry Licious or Berry Obsession strawberries at home should not use them.

"[It's been done] obviously to injure somebody", he said.

"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", NSW Police said in a statement late Friday.

Police are now interviewing what could end up being around 100 staff from the two affected farms, the ABC reported.

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

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

Her young son had eaten one of the strawberries at school but it had not been tampered with.

Sunshine Coast grower Adrian Schultz said the contamination scare was the last thing the industry needed.

It's feared six separate brands of brands of strawberries have been contaminated with needles.

Stevenson felt thankful that she didn't just "pull the head off" and give it to her 12-month-old completely whole.

Strawberries Australia's industry development officer Jennifer Rowling told the ABC that the industry is "devastated by this incident and it's distressing to think that someone's done something like this".

"It's quite safe to buy them but just cut them up", she said.

"People are contacting us out of concern and saying: 'This is what I've got, what do you think?'", he said.

Angela agreed and said it was "pure luck" the situation had not turned out worse.

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