Man's panic after swallowing strawberry with needle inside

Woolworths has been forced to recall Berrylicious and Berry Obsession strawberries amid fears a batch is contaminated with sewing needles.

It has led to a police investigation involving bureaus in Victoria, Queensland and NSW.

Haoni Hearne and a friend purchased their punnet from a Woolworths at Strathpine, north of Brisbane.

Brisbane man Haoni Hearne said he went to the emergency room after accidentally swallowing part of a needle in a strawberry he bought. Source: 7 News

“During eating one of them I found a needle, bit into it by accident (and it) snapped in half,” Mr Hearne said. 

“My kneejerk reaction was to swallow and I found the other half of the needle in the strawberry.” 

Mr Hearne and his friend frantically searched the rest of the punnet and found another needle. 

“(We) went straight to an ER. I was pretty worried (and) got X-rays done,” he said. 

“We ended up getting some pretty severe (abdominal) pains.”

Woolworths has pulled Berrylicious and Berry Obsession strawberries from shelves. Source: 7 News

Mr Hearne believes the person responsible for placing the needles in the strawberries did it deliberately.

“Whoever’s done this they’re out to hurt people,” he said.

“I just hope it doesn’t happen again. It shakes a person up quite severely.”

On Tuesday night there were two more incidents in Victoria.  

Queensland chief health officer Jeanette Young said her main concern was anyone who purchased the fruit and chose to froze it in Queensland, Victoria or NSW.

They may have thrown out the packaging and have no idea what brand they bought.

“While it is expected that berries picked early last week would now not be useable, many people freeze the fruit for later use,” Dr Young said.

“If you are in doubt, just throw them out. Any strawberries bought from 13 September (Thursday) are safe.” 

Queensland chief health officer Jeanette Young said her concern is for anyone who may have purchased the strawberries, thrown out the packaging and then frozen the fruit. Source: 7 News

Queensland Police Acting Detective Superintendent Terry Lawrence said authorities believe the strawberries are coming from a farm in southeast Queensland but would not name it. 

He believes whoever is responsible may be planting the needles in the fruit to “injure somebody”.

Acting Det Supt added police have spoken with the person who ran the farm.

Woolworths said in a statement it was “working closely” with authorities during the investigation, and it had removed Berrylicious and Berry Obsession strawberries from its shelves for the time being.

Victoria Police said an affected punnet was located in both Yarram, southeast of Gippsland, and Sebastopol near Ballarat.

Customers can return their berries for a refund.

Queensland Police urge anyone with information to contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using the online form 24hrs per day.

For more information regarding the police investigation click here.

If you are concerned you may have eaten any of the contaminated strawberries click here.