26 Nov 2018

Contaminated South Canterbury strawberries NZ grown

3:56 pm on 26 November 2018

The strawberries at the centre of a contamination scare in South Canterbury are New Zealand grown.

Fresh strawberry at market in plastic boxes.

Photo: 123rf.com

Police said a customer purchased the punnet of strawberries on Saturday morning and reported they had been tampered with that evening.

Police believe the customer was not injured.

FreshChoice Geraldine has confirmed that a strawberry punnet with a needle in it was purchased from its store.

Shop owner Garry Sheed said they took all strawberries off the shelves on Saturday.

He would not comment on whether the punnet was from Australia or New Zealand.

The Ministry of Primary Industries said the person who found the needle was not injured and the supermarket took all strawberries off its shelves as a precaution.

The ministry said there is no reason to believe it is more widespread than a single incident.

This is the second such incident in New Zealand in recent months.

The case follows a contamination crisis in Australia where its strawberry industry was brought to its knees after several punnets of strawberries were found contaminated with sewing needles.

A 50-year-old Queensland woman is facing court after being accused of inserting needles into the strawberries.

The scare began in south-east Queensland in September with more than 100 incidents of needles reported around Australia, as well as an isolated case in New Zealand.

As police launched their investigation into strawberry producer supply chains, consumers were urged to cut up their strawberries before eating them.

- additional reporting by ABC

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