Shoppers in NSW, Queensland and Victoria have found sewing needles embedded in supermarket strawberries. Police believe a disgruntled ex-employee may be behind the contamination and Queensland Health has advised customers to return or dispose of punnets from the brands Berry Licious and Berry Obsession.
“At this time, [we] 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,” a statement from the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association said.
According to the Queensland Strawberry Grower industry, the occurrence is an isolated incident, and unaffected strawberries are, in general, safe to eat – recommending customers cut them in half to inspect if they have concerns.
“If people don’t know, and they want to be ultra-cautious, then it would be best if they just throw out any strawberries,” said Queensland chief health officer Jeanette Young.
So far, there have been four reported cases of needles being found inside the strawberries with one man reportedly swallowing half a needle.
Police and Queensland Health are investigating the case, and stores are currently replacing strawberries with safe produce packaged from September 13.