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Six strawberry brands now affected after needle tampering

Six strawberry brands now affected after needle tampering

In a follow-up statement released on Facebook Thursday, the group said the strawberries were seemingly "interfered with between the time they were packed and the time they were purchased".

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.

Acting Detective Chief Superintendent Terry Lawrence said the item was lying on top of the punnet and had not been inserted into the fruit.

"He didn't get hurt or anything - didn't get pricked", she said. Supt. Lawrence said "we're not agreeing with that at this particular point of time".

Jennifer Rowling of the Queensland Strawberry Growers' Association said she believed the strawberries had been "interfered with".

There are fresh warnings that more brands of strawberries could be contaminated with sewing needles.

The disturbing discovery was made by a Coles employee who saw the unsafe object inside a punnet of strawberries at a shop in Gatton, west of Brisbane yesterday.

Australians have been warned to cut strawberries before eating them after sewing needles were found in several punnets, triggering the withdrawal of three brands from sale nationwide.

Customers were also encouraged to cut through any strawberries before they consumed them.

"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.




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

NSW Police are also urging anyone who has purchased contaminated product to take the punnet to their local police station immediately for triage and forensic examination.

Amid the contamination, the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association on Wednesday said they suspected that the culprit was possibly a "disgruntled" former employee.

A thin metal object, possibly another needle, was found in a punnet in Gatton.

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.

There are other reports out there, but they're still being chased up.

"We're keeping a very open mind as to where this may have occurred somewhere between the actual growing of the strawberry through to the end of the production line, including even further through to distribution and going onto the shelves", he said.

"I was just cutting up some fruit in the morning for my 12-month-old and hit something hard and pulled it back and there was a needle embedded in it", Stevenson told the ABC.

You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers, a registered charity and community volunteer organisation, by calling 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppersqld.com.au 24hrs per day.