Strawberry growers turn to metal detectors to protect crops

Needles have been discovered inside Australian strawberries
Needles have been discovered inside Australian strawberries
Author

18 September, 2018

It was announced on Monday both Foodstuff and Countdown - both owned by Woolworths and both controlling almost the entire New Zealand grocery market - had stopped sending out Australian strawberries to its stores.

Foodstuff's main two supermarket chains are Pak'n'Save and New World.

Coles said the move was to protect the safety of its customers.

Aldi supermarkets are returning non-contaminated strawberry brands to their shelves.

"This here is a video of our strawberries being dumped, this here is worth more than you could ever imagine and within three days we lost it all".

Ms Faugeras shared the discovery on Facebook and was met with shock and outrage, with commenters questioning "what is wrong with people?" and saying the unsafe saga was "getting crazy".

The revelation came hours after WA Police confirmed a member of the public presented at York Police Station on Monday to report he had found a needle in a punnet of strawberries.

A man posted a picture of the needle he found in a strawberry punnet.

Authorities are continuing to liaise with retailers to ensure that all stock from the affected date have been removed from sale.

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Police fear copycats have propped up in the wake of the initial recall, while Health Minister Greg Hunt has ordered Food Standards Australia New Zealand to investigate.

At least 11 people across six Australian states have reported seeing needles in their strawberries, although majority spotted the contamination before swallowing the fruits.

At least six brands have been caught up in the scare: Berry Obsession, Berry Licious, Love Berry, Donnybrook Berries, Delightful Strawberries and Oasis.

The public have now been advised to cut open strawberries before consumption, while strawberries from brands Berry Obsession and Berry Licious are urged to be disposed of.

The crisis has spiraled since a man was hospitalized after swallowing a needle that was hidden inside a strawberry in Queensland over a week ago. "We are actively working with our valued primary producers and the supporting supply chain to do what we can to minimise the impact and cost of the recent withdrawals".

The strawberry industry in the state of Queensland is worth around $93 million annually, and the government there announced this week that it would offer a reward of roughly $70,000 for anyone with information about the culprit behind the odd attack on strawberries.

A number of terrifying stories have emerged since the needles were first discovered.

Angela Stevenson said she cut into metal and then realised she had given her son strawberries for his packed lunch. They have been recalled.


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