Needle in WA-grown strawberries
A WA company has been dragged into the growing national scare over contaminated strawberries after a needle was found in a punnet of fruit in South Australia.
South Australian police last night issued an alert for shoppers to check punnets of Mal’s Black Label strawberries after a needle was found in the fruit.
Mal’s Black Label strawberries is a small grower based in Gingin, north of Perth.
It is believed to export its produce to the east coast through a third-party seller. WA’s Department of Health was in contact with the company last night.
Danny Holdsworth, marketing manager for the WA grower, said the report of the needles being found were “devastating” for the company.
“I would say it’s a copycat thing,” he said. “It’s not hard to go into a store and put a needle in a punnet of strawberries.”
The punnet was bought from a Kloses’s Foodland store in the Adelaide Hills.
There were no injuries when the strawberries were eaten.
The punnet was immediately returned to the store, employees pulled the remaining stock from the shelves and called authorities.
Another three Foodland stores, managed by the same owners, immediately removed the product.
South Australia Police urged anyone who bought Mal’s Black Label strawberries from the affected chain of stores to properly check their fruit.
The company also exports to Sydney and Melbourne.
There were unconfirmed reports last night that contaminated strawberries were found in Tasmania. The contamination crisis has now reached every State in Australia.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the it was the responsibility of the States to ensure all fruit was safe. “This is a very vicious crime,” he said.