Strawberry sales have dropped across the country after sewing needles were found embedded inside some of the fruits, raising fears of ‘intentional’ contamination.
At least seven brands have had their products pulled from supermarket shelves, leading to mass dumping from suppliers into ‘strawberry graveyards.’
Stephanie Chheang, who claims to be the daughter of the owner of Donnybrook Berries, shared a video showing mounds of discarded strawberries.
“This is no doubt the worst thing to ever happen to my family,” she wrote on Facebook.
“[My family] work hard to make the money for our family and to have these selfish individuals destroy it is just so upsetting.”
The Queensland government has dedicated $1 million to assist strawberry farmers and to investigate ‘traceability and integrity’ in the supply chain.
On Monday Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt ordered the Food Standards Australia New Zealand to investigate the contamination.
The Palasczcuk government has also offered a $100,000 reward for information on the identity of the strawberry 'saboteurs'.
The contamination across the nation
- Berry Obsession, Berry Licious and Donnybrook Berries have recalled their strawberries nationwide.
- Health authorities across the country are urging people to cut up strawberries before eating them.
- Original source of the scare with strawberries from a Sunshine Coast grower being pulled from shelves last week after two separate reports of needles being discovered inside berries.
- Multiple reports are under investigation by Queensland health of people discovering needles in strawberries in the past two weeks.
- Queensland government has offered $1 million to help farmers struggling due to the scare.
- A $100,000 reward has been offered leading to the discovery of the culprit or culprits.
- A woman received a warning by police after being caught sticking a needle into a banana at a shop in Mackay.
- NSW Police have received reports of contaminated strawberries purchased at supermarkets at Tweed Heads, Taree, and Wingham.
- NSW Police on Tuesday confirmed needles had been found in an apple and a banana purchased from separate Sydney stores.
- Contaminated strawberries have been reported five times in Western Australia, including three reports from Perth.
- A woman reported on social media she'd found a needle in a punnet of strawberries she bought from a Hobart supermarket on the weekend.
- Two contaminated punnets of Western Australian-grown Mal's Black Label strawberries have been found in towns outside Adelaide.
- Two contaminated punnets reportedly located in regional Victoria as part of the original investigation. No further reports since.