ANOTHER case of needles in strawberries has come to light after a woman bought punnets from Wingham Coles in New South Wales.
Consumers in Queensland have been told to return or discard fruit due to the harmful contamination after a customer was rushed to a hospital after swallowing part of a needle in a strawberry.
Contaminated strawberries were also found in Yarram and Ballarat, in Victoria, prompting urgent recalls of the two brands in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.
Detective Superintendent Terry Lawrence said people responsible for contaminating the fruit could be charged with maliciously causing grievous bodily harm.
Back in New Zealand, Foodstuff external relations manager Sue Hamilton says ahead of the New Zealand strawberry season kicking off, New World, PaK'n'Save and Four Square stores are stocking some Australian strawberries.
"We are now working with retailers nationwide to ensure that all Donnybrook stock is removed from sale", Dr Young said.
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".
Photo from a Facebook Post by Joshua Gane showing the needle he found in a punnet of Woolworths strawberries bought from Strathpine, Queensland on September 9, 2018.
Several brands of strawberries have been withdrawn.
"They suspect it is foul play, but unsure whether it was via the supplier, Woolworths or a customer", Gane said.
"It does appear to be an isolated incident so far.it's the perception that people have that's the concern".
The Queensland Police Service said it was investigating the contamination relating to sewing needles inserted in strawberries.
Queensland police and Australian Border Force officers inspected the farm at Wamuran, north of Brisbane, on Thursday where the contaminated berries came from as they hunted for the culprit.
"A lot of people won't know the brand of strawberries they've bought ... if they do have any strawberries it would be safest to dispose of them".
Joshua Gane said that he and his friend Hoani van Dorp had bought a punnet of "Berry Obsession" strawberries from the Woolworths in Strathpine Centre.
Police investigations are ongoing.
"As with all farmers who produce food for our nation, strawberry growers strive to ensure the quality, security and freshness of their produce and these spiteful incidents have been extremely disheartening and troubling", the association wrote in a statement.
Meanwhile, a NSW mother revealed her ten-year-old child discovered sabotaged fruit in a case yet unconfirmed by police.
The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association said it had reason to suspect that a disgruntled ex-employee may be behind the incident.
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