Australian police have issued a public health warning after needles were found hidden in strawberries across all six of the country’s states.
Several brands of the fruit have been recalled, and “New Zealand’s biggest grocers have stopped selling Australian strawberries as a precaution”, says the BBC.
Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt has ordered the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) agency to investigate the matter.
“This is a very vicious crime and it’s a general attack on the public,” he said.
How has the scare unfolded?
The strawberry industry “was plunged into chaos” just over a week ago when “a customer from Burpengary in Queensland bit into a strawberry with a needle inside it and ended up in hospital”, says Sydney-based site news.com.au.
Since then, needles or pins have been reported in strawberries in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.
A boy as young as nine “was among those to make the unpleasant discovery whilst eating, although no injuries have since been reported”, reports ITV News.
Authorities say the sabotage is “putting families’ lives at risk”, and a AUD$100,000 reward has been offered for information.
Who is behind the sobotage?
Police “are still unsure if the sabotage devastating the nation’s strawberry industry is the work of a single person or several people acting independently”, The Guardian reports.
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