Boy arrested in Australia after admitting to putting needles in strawberries

Needle found in strawberry purchased from Foodland in Jamestown South Australia

"And if you do that sort of thing in this country we will come after you, and we will throw the book at you".

"It's such a shame". "We can't put up with it".

Strawberry prices have plummeted all around Australia, with prices in some are now below production costs, which will affect next year's crops as well, as some growers will probably be unable to break even this year. The million-dollar question is how it's going to affect us.

"These measures apply to fresh strawberry exports to all markets, and will remain in place until the risk of metal contaminants has been appropriately managed".

It comes as New Zealand food distributors removed Australian strawberries from their shelves as a precaution, further adding to the devastation caused by the unidentified culprit.

Strawberry punnets are seen at a supermarket in Sydney
Strawberry punnets are seen at a supermarket in Sydney

A nine-year-old boy from Queensland's Gladstone bit into a strawberry contaminated with a needle but fortunately wasn't pricked.

Thousands of strawberries are being left to rot in Queensland after needles were found buried within a few. Woolworths took out Berry Licious, Berry Obsession, Donnybrook, Oasis and Love Berry punnets. Aldi pulled affected brands.

A New Zealand supermarket chain has stopped selling Australian strawberries as the strawberry needle scare widens.

Coles also said it recommenced the supply of strawberries into its stores on Monday afternoon.

Queensland, Australia resident Chantal Gaugeras posted photos on Facebook September 13 of a strawberry with a sewing needle protruding from the middle.

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Queensland Police told national broadcaster ABC the contamination of the strawberries - usually sold in small plastic boxes called punnets - was done "obviously to injure somebody".

Although authorities believe most of the recent cases are hoaxes, false alarms or copycat acts.

They have asked the public for help with their investigation and are expected later Wednesday to increase a reward for information that helps resolve the case.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said: "This is putting families' lives at risk and it's also putting the strawberry industry at risk".

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has ordered a federal investigation into the contamination. "This a vicious crime, it's created to injure, and possibly worse, members of the population at large", Hunt said. "He's buggering the community and destroying the wider industry".

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"When I saw it I honestly didn't know what to think". "The media is giving too much air for what it is", he said.

"Make this coming Sunday, Strawberry Sunday and show off your strawberry recipes". We then checked the other strawberries and found another sewing needle lodged inside one of them. "It's a criminal act".

He said that while police have primary responsibility, the federal agency is investigating "whether there are supply chain weaknesses".

"I can't predict the future", he said.

"The sabotage of our strawberry industry is not just an attack on hard-working growers and workers, but it reaches into nearly every home and school lunch box".

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