Thursday, 20 September, 2018

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

Supplied  Qld Police The recalled strawberry brands Supplied Qld Police The recalled strawberry brands
Orlando Vargas | 16 September, 2018, 20:41

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.

As a precaution, Queensland Health's chief health officer, Jeanette Young, advised people in the states of Queensland, Victoria, and NSW on September 12 to throw out their strawberries that were bought early last week, the Herald Sun reported.

"[It's been done] obviously to injure somebody", Queensland Acting Chief Superintendent Terry Lawrence of the State Crime Command told ABC Australia.

At this stage police are unsure if the cases are related or copy-cat incidents.

Berry Obsession, Berry Licious, Love Berry, Donnybrook Berries, Delightful Strawberries, and Oasis are the brands affected.

Queensland's chief health officer 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.

The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association said it appears the punnets of strawberries were interfered with between the time they were packed and the time they were purchased.

We are working closely with authorities as they investigate this matter.

She had already sent her nine-year-old to school with uncut strawberries, but when cutting more strawberries for her 12-month-old at home, she found a needle.

However, police are urging anyone who finds a contaminated punnet to report it immediately and anyone using any of the impacted brands to cut up the strawberries before eating them.

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The Queensland Government is offering a $100,000 reward for information which leads to the arrest of whoever is putting needles inside supermarket strawberries.

"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.

Police have cast doubt on the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association theory a disgruntled farm worker may be responsible.

The contaminated berries are limited to two brands: Berry Obsession and Berry Licious. "We are now at the ER because he subsequently started experiencing severe abdominal pain", Gane wrote.

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

Police investigations are ongoing.

It came as a NSW mother said she found more sabotaged strawberries, in the first instance for that state following the recent scares in Queensland.

"Please be careful and crush them up before eating or just chuck them out".

"Police will eventually come and collect those strawberries and the potential evidence from you".

"I now say given that there's been these additional incidents, unrelated to that particular product, my advice is to be ultra cautious and simply cut up those strawberries before consuming them".

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