Published: Tue, September 25, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Australia strawberry needle crisis spreads to New Zealand

Australia strawberry needle crisis spreads to New Zealand

A spokeswoman for the Queensland Police Service, which has been heading the national investigation into sabotage reports, could not confirm if police had been contacted over the new report.

New Zealand has reported its first case of a contaminated punnet of strawberries at a branch of the Woolworth's-owned supermarket chain Countdown on Sunday.

New Zealanders are now being advised to cut up their strawberries.

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Woolworths Australia, Countdown's parent company, has withdrawn needles from sale as a "precautionary step".

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"If people are genuinely anxious, our advice is that they should cut the strawberries before eating, to provide absolute confidence".

Several batches of strawberries in Australia have also been found with needles in recent weeks.

"The biggest issue reported by strawberry growers right now is supply".

Strawberry growers here are trying to get the message out: ours are fine, it's imported Australian berries that have had the problems.

In Australia, more than 100 alleged incidents of pins and needles found in fruit have been reported since the scare began in Queensland state earlier this month.

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AUTHORITIES in New Zealand are investigating the discovery of a needle in a punnet of strawberries sourced from Australia.

Speaking to reporters at the Prime Minister's weekly post-cabinet press conference, Peters said there will be "no more strawberries coming into this country without [them] all being screened, into the future".

According to Britain's Daily Telegraph, the Australian government is due to hold a vote Thursday on whether to increase the prison sentence to 15 years from 10 years for those found guilty of tampering with food.

The fruit scare has been given a national and worldwide profile by new Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has addressed it publicly several times in the last few days.

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