Farm­ers cast doubt over berry sab­o­tage

Sunday Tasmanian - - News -

STRAW­BERRY grow­ers have ques­tioned whether fruit was re­ally sab­o­taged or if it was all a hoax fol­low­ing the con­tam­i­na­tion cri­sis which swept the na­tion in Septem­ber.

De­spite a Fed­eral Govern­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tion, beefed up penal­ties and sev­eral po­lice probes, no one has been charged with sab­o­tag­ing fruit.

Af­ter more than 100 re­ports of con­tam­i­nated fruit, po­lice have only laid charges against one man, from South Aus­tralia, for al­legedly mak­ing a false claim that his daugh­ter ate a con­tam­i­nated straw­berry.

On Fri­day, sharp ob­jects were found in straw­ber­ries in the Ade­laide sub­urb of Sal­is­bury and in the Clare Val­ley.

Straw­berry grower Mandy Schultz, whose hus­band Adrian Schultz is vice-pres­i­dent of the Queens­land Straw­berry Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, said quality as­sur­ance mech­a­nisms at farms meant the pick­ers and pack­ers of each straw­berry could be iden­ti­fied.

Ms Schultz sug­gested it could have been a so­cial me­dia-driven hoax.

Po­lice in Tas­ma­nia are con­tin­u­ing to in­ves­ti­gate re­ports of con­tam­i­nated fruit, but no charges have been laid.

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