There are fresh warnings that more brands of strawberries could be contaminated with sewing needles.
Initially, it was thought just Berry Licious and Berry Obsession strawberries were affected, after Queensland Police and Queensland Health warned members of the public on Wednesday.
However, on Friday, NSW Police added that the contamination might have affected four more brands: Love Berry, Donnybrook Berries, Delightful Strawberries and Oasis.
The six brands are believed to be sold in stores in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, and the Australian Capital Territory, police said.
Authorities are continuing to liaise with retailers to ensure that all stock from the affected date have been removed from sale.
So far, NSW Police has received reports of contaminated strawberries purchased at supermarkets at Tweed Heads, Taree, and Wingham.
It’s not known if all the finds are from the original Queensland incident, because not all of them have been forensically examined.
However, police are urging anyone who finds a contaminated punnet to report it immediately and anyone using any of the impacted brands to cut up the strawberries before eating them.
‘Disgruntled former employee’ behind contamination
The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association suspects a disgruntled ex-employee may be responsible for placing sewing needles into strawberries sold in Woolworths.
In a statement released on Wednesday night, the association said it had “reason to suspect” it was a former employee and was waiting on more information from Queensland Police.
“At this time, the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association have reason to suspect that a disgruntled ex-employee may have orchestrated the occurrence, wherein sewing needles were found in a number of strawberries in Queensland and Victoria,” the statement reads.
Mum’s race to stop schoolboy son from eating strawberries
She told Seven News she rushed to call his school to stop him eating the fruit but it was too late.
“He didn’t get hurt or anything – didn’t get pricked,” she said.
“He obviously bit into it, felt it, pulled it out and told the teacher ‘there was a needle in my fruit’ and everyone was sort of gobsmacked as to why? How did it get there?”
The mum went back to Woolworths at Kirkwood and showed pictures of the find in her son’s fruit.