Riverina residents who have bought fresh strawberries are being encouraged to check the brands after the fruit was found to be contaminated with needles in Queensland.
Yesterday, Queensland Police Services began an investigation into the contamination of ‘Berry Obsession’ and ‘Berry Licious’ brands.
“The contamination relates to what appears to be sewing needles inserted in strawberries,” a QPS said in a statement.
“It is understood the brands are sold in stores in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.”
The investigation began after a Queensland man was taken to hospital from swallowing a needle in a strawberry.
The contamination relates to what appears to be sewing needles inserted in strawberries.- Queensland Police Service
Victoria has recorded two cases of the contaminated strawberries, which are grown in a southeast Queensland farm.
Jennifer Rowling, industry-development officer at Queensland’s Strawberry Growers Association, alleged a “disgruntled ex-employee” may be responsible for the contamination.
Yesterday, NSW Police Force said that while there had not been any reports of contaminated strawberries in NSW, they urge anyone who had purchased Berry Obsession or Berry Licious strawberries not to consume the product.
“Customers are encouraged to return all punnets to point of sale,” NSWPF said in a statement.
“If you have contaminated product, please take the punnet with the strawberry and needle to your local police station.”
Local supermarkets have told the Daily Advertiser they have not received any reports.
A spokesperson for Bernadi’s Wagga said the store did not stock the strawberry brands.
“So far we’ve not heard of reports elsewhere or had no complaints to our store,” he said.
Duffy Bros Fruit and Meat Market also said there had been no reports.
“We don’t stock those brands, so that’s fortunate,” owner Frank Rositano said.
“The brand we stock is Coco, but I wonder how many needles have been found so far.”
As of 11am today, NSW Police told the Daily Advertiser that there had been no reports of contamination.
“We aren't aware of any reports in NSW,” a NSW Police spokesperson said.
“Advice has been provided by Queensland Police and Queensland Health.”
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said encourage buyers to return the brands to the store or throw them away.
“While it is expected that berries picked early last week would now not be useable, many people freeze the fruit for later use,” Dr young said.
“If you are in doubt, just throw them out.”
Any strawberries bought from September 13 are safe.
QPS is leading the investigation with Victoria Police’s Fraud and Extortion Squad detectives assisting.
Anyone with information that may assist the investigation is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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