In a drastic move, Woolworths Supermarkets has removed sewing needles from its shelves nationwide. It’s the latest development in the fallout from the fruit-tampering crisis that began last week, when needles were discovered in strawberries sold at Woolworths.
“We’ve taken the precautionary step of temporarily removing sewing needles from sale in our stores. The safety of our customers is our top priority,” a Woolworths spokesperson tells Broadsheet.
Following the discovery of needles in punnets of Berry Obsession and Berrylicious strawberries sold in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, other reports of fruit tampering emerged – including an instance where a needle was found in an apple in a Sydney Woolworths.
As reported by SBS News, police are investigating more than 100 reports of fruit tampering nationwide. It’s thought many of the new discoveries are copycat cases.
As reported by SBS News, a girl was arrested in New South Wales over behaviour that "could be called a prank", according to Acting Police Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith. The girl admitted to putting needles into strawberries.
Strawberry sales have plummeted in the wake of the crisis. As reported by BBC News prices in Western Australia are now below the cost of production.
Consumers are being advised to cut the fruit into pieces before eating. A #smashastrawb social media movement has emerged to help farmers affected by the scare – members are posting images of strawberry recipes that range from tarts to cocktails.