Straw­berry pin ‘iso­lated’ in­ci­dent

Bay of Plenty Times - - Local News - Saman­tha Mo­tion

A pin found in a straw­berry bought from a Tau­ranga su­per­mar­ket looks to be an “iso­lated in­ci­dent”, New Zealand Food Safety says.

A spokes­woman said the straw­berry with the pin in it, dis­cov­ered by a Matua fam­ily on Thurs­day night, had been col­lected and the mat­ter was be­ing treated as “crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity”.

“At this stage, we have no rea­son to be­lieve this case is any­thing but an iso­lated in­ci­dent.

“We’ve no ev­i­dence of any risks in the sup­ply chain or the food safety sys­tem.

“Rather, this is a po­ten­tially crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity and it is be­ing treated as such.”

Michael Rayner said his part­ner was pre­par­ing the straw­ber­ries pur­chased from Pak’nSave Cameron Rd for their two chil­dren when she found the pin.

“She was cut­ting them into pieces and lit­er­ally hit the pin,” Rayner said.

“What kind of sicko does that?” he said.

The in­ci­dent was re­ferred to the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries and the po­lice.

The Pak’nSave store re­moved the straw­ber­ries, from a North Is­land grower, from its shelves as a pre­cau­tion.

By Fri­day morn­ing the store was sell­ing a dif­fer­ent brand of straw­ber­ries on spe­cial.

A Food­stuffs spokes­woman said the af­fected prod­uct had been re­moved but the su­per­mar­ket had mul­ti­ple sup­pli­ers.

“All our stores have a ro­bust pro­to­col for is­sues like th­ese and fol­low this strictly with the as­sis­tance of MPI and the po­lice. “The mat­ter is now in hands.”

An owner of the af­fected North Is­land grower re­ferred all ques­tions to the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries. The in­ci­dent has drawn the ire of a Tau­ranga gro­cer, who feared pub­lic­ity around the is­sue was in­spir­ing “copy­cats”.

He said he felt sorry for the grower, who he un­der­stood was “gut­ted” by the in­ci­dent, as was the whole­saler.

The im­pli­ca­tions were wide­spread, he said.

“It’s go­ing to af­fect those busi­nesses, and it will make peo­ple du­bi­ous about eat­ing straw­ber­ries.” He said in­ci­dents should be re­ported to the store and to au­thor­i­ties rather than me­dia, but also ap­pre­ci­ated there was a pub­lic in­ter­est in know­ing about their For­eign ob­jects in fruit and vege

■ De­cem­ber: Pin found in straw­berry brought at Pak’nSave Cameron Rd

■ Novem­ber: Nee­dle found in a cap­sicum bought at Count­down Bureta

■ Novem­ber: Nee­dle found in­side a pun­net of straw­ber­ries pur­chased at a su­per­mar­ket in the South Is­land in Novem­ber

■ Septem­ber: Three nee­dles found in three straw­ber­ries in one im­ported pun­net of Aus­tralian Choice brand straw­ber­ries at Count­down St Lukes in Auck­land

New Zealand Food Safety ad­vice:

■ If you see some­thing out of the or­di­nary, please take it to your re­tailer or give us a call on 0800 00 83 33.

the finds. The dis­cov­ery was the lat­est in a string of in­ci­dents in­volv­ing nee­dles in fruit, in­clud­ing a nee­dle in a cap­sicum pur­chased from Count­down on Cameron Rd in Tau­ranga last month.

PHO­TOS / ALAN GIB­SON

Tau­ranga man Michael Rayner with the pin in the straw­berry.

A close-up view of the pin in the straw­berry.

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