Now, Needles found in Australian Strawberries Exported to New Zealand

Daniel Fowler
September 25, 2018

"Countdown is in contact with both New Zealand and Australian authorities as they investigate this matter", a spokesman said.

A New Zealand supermarket chain pulled a brand of Australian strawberries off its shelves after needles were found in punnets purchased from a store in Auckland.

Strawberry Growers executive manager Michael Ahern says New Zealand growers are already concerned that New Zealand will be tarred with the Australian brush.

Countdown Supermarkets chain has withdrawn the Choice brand of strawberries from its shelves "as a precautionary measure", the New Zealand Herald reported.

Strawberry Growers NZ said although the affected berries were from Australia, farmers here were becoming concerned.

The statement added that there have been "no reports of any illness or injury in New Zealand". A man in South Australia was due to face court on Monday as he has been charged with falsely claiming goods had been contaminated after he allegedly reported finding a needle in a strawberry his daughter was eating.

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The first report of needles in fruit in Australia was a week ago when a needle was found in a punnet of strawberries bought in Queensland.

Police in Australia suspect numerous reports of fruit contamination could be fake, or copycat contamination.

However, the Australian Choice brand has not been recalled in Australia.

Cases have since been reported in many parts of the country, according to a map compiled by News.com.au.

The damage caused by the sabotage prompted Prime Minister Scott Morrison to announce a 10 to 15 year maximum prison sentence for food tampering offences, calling the perpetrator a "grub". "It's not amusing. You're putting the livelihoods of hardworking Australians at risk and you're scaring children", Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Wednesday.

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