'Disgruntled ex-employee' blamed for needle in Woolworths strawberries

Supplied  Qld Police The recalled strawberry brands

Supplied Qld Police The recalled strawberry brands

A product recall is under way in three states of Australia because sewing needles have been found inside strawberries sold in supermarkets.

As a precaution, Queensland Health's chief health officer, Jeanette Young, advised people in the states of Queensland, Victoria, and NSW on September 12 to throw out their strawberries that were bought early last week, the Herald Sun reported.

The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association said it had reason to suspect that a disgruntled ex-employee may be behind the incident.

"Driving up to the coast when Hoani van Dorp bites through a strawberry and swallows half a sewing needle".

ACT chief health officer Dr Paul Kelly said no contaminated Berry Liscious or Berry Obsession strawberries had been reported in the territory, but encouraged caution.

Canberrans who have bought fresh strawberries recently are being urged to check the brand after sewing needles were found in some berries interstate.

"If you have Donnybrook strawberries at home, or are unsure of the brand, you should return them to the store or throw them away".

Police in Queensland, where the affected strawberries were grown, believe the contamination is deliberate.

"Luckily, in each of those cases, the needles were found within the strawberry by the person who had purchased them when cutting the strawberries, as we had asked them to do", he said.

Angela Stevenson, from Gladstone, told Seven News her nine-year-old accidentally bit into one of the contaminated strawberries after she packed them for his school lunch.

"It does appear to be an isolated incident so far.it's the perception that people have that's the concern".

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She said the punnets were both Delightful Strawberries branded product.

Police believe they have contained the threat, which was first reported over the weekend.

The store manager subsequently contacted them and issued a recall, as well as contacting police and health officials.

An investigation is also under way after a Coles employee found a small metal rod laying across the top of some strawberries inside a plastic punnet on the shelves of a Gatton store.

Several brands of strawberries have been withdrawn.

In the post, Ms Faugeras says her 10-year-old discovered a pin embedded in a strawberry while eating a punnet they had bought from Coles at Wingham.

Only weeks ago, some supermarkets dropped the price of strawberries as low as $1 per punnet to help suppliers move tonnes of excess produce.

Police investigations are ongoing.

"Police will eventually come and collect those strawberries and the potential evidence from you".

Queensland Strawberry Growers industry development officer Jennifer Rowling told Fairfax on Wednesday the industry was reeling this week. Supt. Lawrence said "we're not agreeing with that at this particular point of time".

What's going on with the strawberries?

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