Was berry cri­sis all just a hoax?

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - MICK'S PICKS - AN­NIKA SMETHURST

STRAW­BERRY grow­ers be­lieve the con­tam­i­na­tion cri­sis that swept the na­tion was a hoax and no fruit may have been con­tam­i­nated on farms.

De­spite a fed­eral gov­ern­ment in­quiry and po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions, no­body has been charged with con­tam­i­nat­ing fruit. Po­lice have only laid charges against one man, for al­legedly mak­ing a false claim his daugh­ter ate a con­tam­i­nated straw­berry.

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

“This did not hap­pen at a far­m­gate level,” she said.

Ms Schultz sug­gested that it could have been a so­cial me­di­adriven hoax.

A po­lice source said au­thor­i­ties be­lieve the “vast ma­jor­ity of cases” were hoaxes.

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