Warning after needles found in Woolworths strawberries


Authorities are warning a batch of strawberries could be contaminated with sewing needles after a Queensland man swallowed one.

Queensland Police and Queensland Health held a joint press conference on Wednesday warning shoppers Berry Obsession and Berrylicious strawberries could be contaminated.

The contaminated fruit was purchased from Woolworths with two cases reported in Victoria and one in Queensland over the past week.

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.

Sewing needles have been found in Berrylicious and Berry Obsession strawberries bought in Woolworths. Queensland Police believe they are coming from a farm in southeast Queensland. Source: Facebook/ Joshua Gane

“I’m out here today to advise people if they have bought any strawberries in Queensland, Victoria or NSW since early last week that they should dispose of them,” she said.

“My concern is, of course, I think there are people who have put strawberries in their freezers to use later. (They) may well not still have the packaging. They might not know what strawberries they’ve bought.

“Most of those punnets would have expired,” she said.

“But it would be safest to dispose of them.”

The man who swallowed the needle, identified by News Corp as a 21-year-old man, said he ended up in hospital.

“When I bit into one I felt like a sharp snap and my knee jerk reaction was to swallow and what was left was half a sewing needle,” he told News Corp.

The two brands have been taken off shelves. Source: Getty Images (File pic)

The two brands have been taken off shelves.

The supplier of the fruit hasn’t been named, but police added the farm’s strawberries are sold in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

But Queensland Police Acting Detective Superintendent Terry Lawrence said authorities have been speaking with the farm, which he said is in southeast Queensland.

“We’re fairly confident if people do come forward with a needle in a strawberry, and in particular the packaging, that’ll provide us some direction,” Act Det Supt Lawrence said.

When asked why anyone would place needles in fruit, he replied, “obviously, to injure somebody”. 

Act Det Supt Lawrence added Queensland Police are also working with its interstate counterparts.

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’re concerned you may have eaten any of the contaminated strawberries click here.