Australian state offers US$70000 reward as strawberries sabotaged with needles

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A $100,000 reward has reportedly been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Australia's strawberry spikers, amid fears up to six brands may have been contaminated with needles and pins.

A Queensland man posted this photo of a strawberry with a needle in it after reporting his friend swallowed one.

Queensland Police Service, who have launched an investigation into the potentially hazardous findings, revealed that affected brands include "Berry Obsession" and "Berry Licious", according to an update on the agency's Facebook account.

The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association said it's likely the affected strawberries were tampered with between the time they were packed and the time they were bought.

On Thursday, Queensland police announced they were also investigating a suspected copycat incident after a metal rod was discovered on top of strawberries inside a plastic punnet at Coles in Gatton.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is said to have issued the reward over concerns for growers as well as consumers. "These further instances are cases in which needles have been found within the strawberries and people have gone to eat them, have cut them up and found the needles".

"This is a serious issue and it just begs the question, how could any right-minded person want to put a baby or child or anybody's health at risk by doing such a awful act?" she said.

"At this stage, please cut them up and just look to make sure they haven't been contaminated", she said. "Regretfully, preventing random acts of extremism, sabotage and simple maliciousness from people with a grudge appears to be an increasing challenge across our society".

The product is now set to under-go forensic testing at the local police station and authorities work with the supermarket.

Certain brands have been removed from sale.

It is believed the consumer had purchased the brand "Delightful" but returned it after a pin was found sticking out of the fruit, the Daily Telegraph reported.

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