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Police arrest woman in Australian needle-in-strawberry scare

12 November, 2018, 13:45 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • Police Arrest 50-Year-Old Woman Over Strawberry Needle Contamination

Australia's strawberry industry, worth A$160 million ($116 million), was rocked in September after almost 200 complaints were made of sewing needles found in strawberries and other fruits.

The first discovery of needles in strawberries was on September 9, and Trinh has known she was a person of interest from the 12th, the court heard.

A 34-year-old man from South Australia who called police, claiming his daughter had bitten into a contaminated strawberry was later found to have lied about the incident.

He said: "The Queensland Police Service has allocated a significant amount of resources to ensure those responsible are brought to justice".

A Vietnamese refugee who arrived by boat two decades ago and became an Australian citizen, Trinh was working as a supervisor of fruit pickers at the Berrylicious strawberry farm near Caboolture, north of Brisbane, when she allegedly inserted needles into the fruit between September 2 and 5, the court was told.

Police investigating a major Australian strawberry needle contamination scare that sparked nationwide panic on Monday identified a former farm supervisor as their main suspect.

She has not said whether she will fight the charges against her.

The woman was arrested and charged with seven counts of contamination of goods under Section 238 Criminal Code on Sunday evening.

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Queensland's strawberry industry collapsed during the industry's growing season, with thousands of strawberries dumped as supermarkets and shops pulled the fruit from shelves.

All six states had begun investigations into reports of tampering that has seen needles or pins discovered in strawberries, as well apples and bananas.

Earlier, police spoke of the challenges investigators faced as they tried to figure out the source of the contamination.

Queensland police handled more than 230 reports of fruit sabotage across Australia, across 68 brands. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in jail.

It is thought she was caught out after her DNA was found on one of the needles found in a contaminated strawberry.

Thewoman has had her bail application withdrawn and will reappear in court on November 22.

Following the news of the charged, Queensland's Strawberry Growers Association released a statement.

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