Authorities investigating needle found in strawberry in New Zealand as reports of contamination continue

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Authorities in New Zealand are investigating the invention of a needle in a punnet of strawberries sourced from Australia.

The grocery store chain Countdown, which is owned by Australia’s Woolworths, has withdrawn all Aussie-grown strawberries from sale as a precautionary measure in response.

A buyer at its Auckland retailer bought a punnet of Selection model strawberries, grown in Western Australia, and found needles within the fruit.

It’s not identified when the contaminated product was bought.

Countdown additionally urged prospects to chop up any strawberries bought earlier than consuming them, echoing related recommendation from Australian authorities.

“Countdown is in touch with each New Zealand and Australian authorities as they examine this matter,” a spokesman mentioned.

“Prospects can return any Selection model of strawberries they could have at house to Countdown for peace of thoughts and a full refund.”

In this Sept. 14, 2018, photo, empty shelves, normally stocked with strawberry punnets, are seen at a Coles Supermarket in Brisbane. Public fears about sewing needles concealed inside strawberries on supermarket shelves have spread across Australia and New Zealand as growers turn to metal detectors and the Australian government launches an investigation to restore confidence in the popular fruit.(Dan Peled/AAP Image via AP)

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 (A buyer at an Auckland retailer bought a punnet of Selection model strawberries, grown in Western Australia, and found needles within the fruit.)

The corporate’s choice to withdraw Australian strawberries from sale follows the same transfer from the rival Foodstuffs retailer.

The emergence of a sabotage scare throughout the Tasman is the most recent blow for Australian fruit growers, who’ve been grappling with a plummet in demand and wholesale costs for the reason that saga started.

The primary case of needles in strawberries was in Queensland, the place authorities at the moment are main a nationwide manhunt.

There have been greater than 100 reviews of needle contamination in strawberries in addition to apples, bananas and mangoes.

Authorities imagine many instances are the work of copycats or are hoaxes. The federal government has rushed by way of powerful new penalties for anybody caught contaminating meals.

It has additionally dedicated $1 million AUD ($726,171 USD) to help struggling growers deal with the disaster, whereas Queensland has provided a $100,000 AUD ($72,617 USD) reward for info resulting in an arrest.

This text initially appeared on information.com.au.

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