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UPDATE:

The strawberry contamination crisis has widened, with six brands now affected.

It’s believed the following brands of strawberries may have been contaminated with needles: Berry Licious, Berry Obsession, Donnybrook Berries, Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries, and Oasis.

The Queensland government has announced a $100,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for the contamination.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the reward was an additional incentive to bring the incident to a rapid conclusion.

“Whoever is behind this is not just putting families at risk across Queensland and the rest of Australia – they are putting an entire industry at risk,” she said.

“I would urge anyone with information that may be relevant to this incident in any way to contact police as soon as possible.

The Victorian Health and Human Services Department has urged anyone with the affected brands to return them to the store of purchase or throw them out.

“For all other brands, our advice remains that you can continue to eat strawberries, but you should cut them up before eating,” the department advised.

There have been four confirmed contamination incidents – two in Queensland and two in Victoria.

As part of their investigations, Queensland are probing a suspected copycat incident involving the discovery of a thin metal object in a punnet of strawberries from a supermarket in Gatton.

The strawberry contamination crisis came to light after a man wrote a Facebook post describing how his friend ingested part of a sewing needle while eating strawberries purchased from a Woolworths north of Brisbane.

The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association suspects a disgruntled former employee may have contaminated the strawberries, grown on a farm in the state’s south-east.

 

 

EARLIER:

Consumers are being urged to their fridges and freezers for strawberries that may contain sewing needles.

The contamination warning comes after a Queensland man swallowed part of a sewing needle while eating a punnet of strawberries.

The contamination affects two brands of strawberries – Berry Licious and Berry Obsession.

The brands are sold in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association suspects a disgruntled former employee may have contaminated the strawberries, grown on a farm in the state’s south-east.

The alarm was raised after a man ingested part of a sewing needle while eating strawberries purchased at a Woolworths north of Brisbane.

His friend, Joshua Gane, took to Facebook to warn others.

“Driving up to the coast when Hoani van Dorp bites through a strawberry and swallows half a sewing needle,” Josh wrote.

Josh said the pair checked the other strawberries and found another sewing needle lodged inside one of them.

“We are now at the ER because he subsequently started experiencing severe abdominal pain,” he wrote.

 

Just posting this as a warning to anyone that has bought strawberries (Berry Obsessions) from Woolworths recently….

Posted by Joshua Gane on Saturday, September 8, 2018

 

Hoani spoke about the frightening experience on the TODAY show.

He said his instant “knee-jerk reaction” was to swallow the needle.

“We ended up finding half a sewing needle left over in my mouth and we were wondering where the other half was gone,” he told the TODAY show on Thursday.

He went straight to emergency at the Sunshine Coast Hospital.

A mother from central Queensland has also told ABC Radio how her son bit into a strawberry with a needle inside it while at school.

Police are investigating how the contamination occurred, but aren’t speculating on whether a disgruntled former employee is to blame.

Officers have been liaising with retailers to ensure all stock is removed from sale.

It is thought that the strawberries in question were picked early last week.

Strawberries sold after September 13 aren’t affected.

As the strawberries have been on special, consumers may have stocked up and put them in the freezer for later use.

If in doubt, consumers are urged to throw strawberries out or return them.

Brands other than Berry Licious and Berry Obsession are safe.

At this time, the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association have reason to suspect that a disgruntled ex-employee may…

Posted by Queensland Strawberries on Wednesday, September 12, 2018

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