After sewing needles were found inside punnets of Berry Obsession and Berrylicious strawberries sold at Woolworths supermarkets last week in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, another incident has been reported to police, this time involving an apple.
SBS reports a needle was found by a woman who purchased a six-pack of pink lady apples from a Woolworths supermarket in The Ponds in Sydney’s south-west. The woman discovered the needle when she peeled one of the apples for her daughters.
This follows reports made to police on Wednesday last week involving needles found in strawberries. At the time, Queensland chief health officer Doctor Jeannette Young advised anyone who had purchased strawberries in Queensland, New South Wales or Victoria to throw them out.
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“If they do have any strawberries it would be safest to dispose of them,” Young said in a press conference.
A Woolworths spokesperson told the ABC contaminated strawberries had been removed from shelves and advised customers to return any they had in their possession for a full refund.
But while authorities across the affected states work to find the people responsible for the interfered-with fruit, the Guardian reports the contamination scare has spread, and that all states could now be affected.
In what is believed to have been a copycat act in Mackay in central Queensland, a woman was reportedly caught inserting a needle into a banana.
In WA, the West Australian reports that contaminated fruits have been found in three Perth suburbs: Kelmscott, Spearwood and Bull Creek. The newspaper said at least 15 cases of fruit tampering have been identified across the country, and detailed that a major strawberry supplier in WA had started using a metal detector in an attempt to reduce the impact on the $280 million strawberry industry.
Supermarket chains Coles and Aldi have now removed strawberries from their shelves. The ABC reports the Queensland government has offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible.