Australian officials warn of needle danger for 6 strawberry brands

Australians warned to cut up strawberries after people report finding needles inside

Warning over needles in strawberries

"So far, NSW Police Force has received reports of contaminated strawberries purchased at supermarkets at Tweed Heads, Taree, and Wingham", NSW Police said in a statement.

Australian authorities earlier this week asked consumers to throw away strawberries bought from Woolworths Group if they bore the brand of Berry Licious or Berry Obsession, after three punnets were discovered to include fruit embedded with sewing needles.

Three more punnets were found contaminated with needles on Friday, according to ABC Australia.

The strawberry industry in the state of Queensland is worth around US$93 million (NZ$142 million) annually, and the government there announced this week that it would offer a reward of A$100,000 for anyone with information about the culprit behind the odd attack on strawberries. "It is simply unacceptable".

Australia's industry development officer Jennifer Rowling said: "It's quite devastating for our growers - they're really upset about it, obviously, because this is their livelihood and someone has taken it upon themselves to do something really nasty".

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Prices for strawberries dropped to unbelievable lows in the lead-up to the decision by Coles and Aldi.

Fruit sold under Berry Obsession, Berry Licious and Donnybrook brands have been affected, while New South Wales police warn fruit sold under the Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries and Oasis brands were inserted with needles by a possible copycat. A number of grocers have removed the berries from their shelves.

Amid the contamination, the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association on Wednesday said they suspected that the culprit was possibly a "disgruntled" former employee.

Palaszczuk, the Queensland premier, told reporters that "those responsible could face up to 10 years' jail, if not more, for the crimes they are committing".

Health officials have urged people purchasing the fruit to be cautious.

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