Police are investigating after sewing needles were found inside punnets of strawberries sold at Woolworths, the ABC reports.
The brands affected are Berry Obsession and Berrylicious. A recall is underway but Queensland chief health officer Doctor Jeannette Young has advised that anyone who bought the strawberries since the start of last week in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria should throw them out.
“If they do have any strawberries it would be safest to dispose of them,” Young said during a press conference.
One incident in Queensland and two in Victoria have been reported to the police.
The ABC story includes details of a Facebook post on Sunday by user Joshua Gane, which warned about Berry Obsession strawberries purchased from Woolworths at the Strathpine Centre in Brisbane’s north, after a friend allegedly swallowed “half a sewing needle”.
“We then checked the other strawberries and found another sewing needle lodged inside one of them,” Gane said. “We are now at the ER because he subsequently started experiencing severe abdominal pain.”
Gane’s friend later received a call from the Woolworths store manager, who had issued arecall on the punnets.
“They suspect it is foul play, but unsure whether it was via the supplier, Woolworths or a customer,” Gane wrote in an update of his post.
Queensland acting chief superintendent Terry Lawrence from the State Crime Command said police suspect the contamination was deliberate. Authorities across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria are now working to find the offenders responsible.
A Woolworths spokesperson told the ABC contaminated strawberries had been removed from shelves and advised customers to return punnets of Berry Obsession and Berrylicious strawberries for a full refund.
Follow the ABC coverage here.