A teenager may have swallowed part of a needle after biting into an apple and experiencing a stabbing pain in her mouth, according to 7 News.
Shelby Pewhairangi was at school in Werribee, southwest of Melbourne, on Tuesday when her friend alerted her to part of a needle hanging from her lip, the network reported.
“She said, ‘Get it out of your mouth!’ so I had to spit it out,” Shelby told 7 News.
The 14-year-old is now waiting to find out if the remaining piece is inside her body.
If X-rays prove the sharp object was swallowed, the teenager will have to wait for it to pass through.
Her mum Seimone said she took the rest of the needle to Hoppers Crossing Woolworths where she bought the apples from.
The supermarket confirmed it was aware of the incident and was taking the matter “very seriously”.
“At Woolworths we take food safety and quality very seriously. We’ve seen the customer’s report and we’re looking into the matter in line with established procedures,” a spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.
“We stand ready to assist authorities in any way we can. While this appears to be an isolated case, we've conducted precautionary checks on our stock in the store and found no issues.”
Australian strawberry growers were rocked by a scandal in 2018 when police investigated more than 100 reports of fruit being contaminated with needles and other objects.
Many of the reports were found to be fake or copycat incidents, but the scandal prompted the federal government to rush through tougher penalties for so-called “food terrorists”.
The incident caused an eight per cent produce loss to the industry, worth about $12 million.
Needle contamination can lead to serious penalties in Australia, with the crime carrying a maximum penalty of 15 years behind bars.
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