Nee­dles in NZ pun­net

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS -

The hunt for those sab­o­tag­ing straw­ber­ries with nee­dles has gone trans-Tas­man, fol­low­ing the first re­port of a con­tam­i­nated pun­net in New Zealand.

On Sun­day, Wool­worth’sowned su­per­mar­ket chain Count­down an­nounced it was re­mov­ing Choice brand straw­ber­ries, im­ported from Western Aus­tralia, off shelves across New Zealand af­ter a cus­tomer re­ported dis­cov­er­ing nee­dles in their fruit.

The com­pany said it had alerted author­i­ties in Aus­tralia, while NZ po­lice and gov­ern­ment agen­cies have also launched their own in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

More than 100 re­ports of tam­pered fruit are be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by po­lice across Aus­tralia, many of which are thought to be fake or copy­cat cases, while the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has ramped up penal­ties for so-called ‘food ter­ror­ists’.

Count­down last week an­nounced it had halted im­ports of Aus­tralia straw­ber­ries to NZ for the sea­son, while com­peti­tor Food­stuffs ceased ship­ping them to its stores.

Closer to home, the first case of a con­tam­i­nated straw­berry has been found in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory.

Po­lice and health of­fi­cials are yet to say if the straw­berry con­tained a nee­dle in it.

Fed­eral Health Min­is­ter Greg Hunt has or­dered the food safety watch­dog to in­ves­ti­gate Queens­land’s han­dling of the straw­berry spik­ing saga.

He has di­rected Food Stan­dards Aus­tralia New Zealand to in­ves­ti­gate whether there are sup­ply chain weak­nesses or sys­tem­atic changes needed.

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