Aussies offer reward amid strawberry needle scare
SYDNEY: An Australian state has offered a large reward for information after sewing needles were found in strawberries sold in supermarkets, in what the federal health minister described as a “vicious crime”.
The issue came to light last week when a man was taken to hospital with stomach pains after eating the fresh produce bought at a supermarket in Queensland state.
Since then, people have posted on social media photos of other strawberries with small metal pins stuck into them.
Several brands grown in Queensland have been withdrawn from supermarkets, and there have been multiple reports of other cases in the states of New South Wales and Victoria.
“Whoever is behind this is not just putting families at risk across Queensland and the rest of Australia – they are putting an entire industry at risk,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Saturday.
Her government is offering a A$100,000 (RM296,000) reward for any information that leads to the capture and conviction of those responsible.
“I urge anyone with information that may be relevant to this incident in any way to contact police as soon as possible,” she added.
Queensland Police told national broadcaster ABC the contamination of the strawberries – usually sold in small plastic boxes called punnets – was done “obviously to injure somebody”.