Two Melbourne families have become the latest victims of the fruit tampering crisis.
Both families purchased Granny Smith apples from Melbourne supermarkets before discovering needles embedded in the fruits.
The Chaurasia family bought Granny Smith apples from Woolworths in Camberwell, south east of Melbourne.
Twelve-year-old Manya Chaurasia says she took a bite of her Granny Smith apple and almost ate a needle hidden inside.
“I was very scared, because I was like thinking to myself, imagine if I could have eaten the needle,” Manya said.
Her mother was horrified by the dangerous discovery.
“She was like, ‘mum, mum’ and I’m like, ‘what is it?’ and she said, ‘there’s a needle in the apple’,” mother Neelam Chaurasia said.
“I thought she was joking. The people who are doing this, they’ve got such a sick mind.”
Ms Chaurasia returned the apples to Woolworths in Camberwell, where an investigation is now underway.
A second family purchased dangerous Granny Smiths from Coles in Boronia, east of Melbourne.
Grandmother Denise O’Halloran almost served one of the fruits to her grandson, 10-month-old Max.
“You need to be caught and you need to stop because you’re going to hurt a lot of people, especially little kids,” Ms O’Halloran said, in a message to fruit saboteurs.
“They’ll end up in hospital and trying to get a needle out of their throats.”
Due to the growing number of cases, the Federal Government will increase the jail time for anyone found guilty of sabotaging food to 15 years.
Since the first needle discovery last week, the fruit crisis has widened dramatically. There have now been more than 100 potential cases, including a primary school student in Newcastle who found a needle in a banana.
So far, the main culprits are yet to be found, but NSW police has spoken to one young copycat prankster who admitted to tampering with fruit.
“It’s not a joke. It’s not funny,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
“You’re putting the livelihood of hardworking Australians at risk.
“You’re scaring children and you’re a coward and you’re a grub.”
Fruit tampering crisis hits Adelaide
Seven News can reveal a man from South Australia’s mid-north is under investigation for sticking needles in strawberries.
Federal police are joining local authorities in a desperate attempt to find those responsible.
Seven News has been told the man bought a punnet of strawberries, then returned it to the shop with a needle inside.
“Like everyone, we are alarmed and very concerned by what we are seeing occurring around the country,” Commissioner Andrew Colvin, of the Australian Federal Police said.