Aldi and Coles pull strawberries from shelves over needle fears

It's a crime so odd that any motive seems almost inconceivable.

ABC News reported on Saturday that wholesale prices have halved to 50 Australian cents per punnet below the cost of production in Western Australia, where strawberries crops are now peaking, with growers forced to dump tonnes of the fruit.

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". The Australian newspaper reported that there have been at least seven reported cases in three Australian states, raising concerns that copycats are working separately to contaminate the berries.

Authorities in Australia on Thursday said they had four confirmed incidents of "contaminated strawberries" after an individual reportedly discovered a needle inside a berry after taking a bite.

The incidents have been piling up, with contaminated strawberries found with needles purchased at supermarkets in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.


The Queensland government is now offering a $100,000 reward for any information that will help police catch those behind the strawberry needle sabotage scandal.

According to NSW Police six brands are have now been recalled nationally, "Berry Obsession", "Berry Licious", and "Donnybrook Berries", with "Love Berry", "Delightful Strawberries", and "Oasis" added on Friday. You've got more chance of winning lotto than being affected'.

But on Saturday, Queensland Acting Chief Superintendent Terry Lawrence told reporters that suspicion is "something we don't subscribe to".

"How could any right-minded person want to put a baby or a child or anybody's health at risk by doing such a terrible act?" she asked.

Two major supermarkets have pulled their entire strawberry supply from the shelves in most states and territories following the discovery of needles in a number of the fruit.


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