13 Sep 2018

Ex-employee suspected after strawberries spiked with needles

12:58 pm on 13 September 2018

A product recall is under way in three states of Australia because sewing needles have been found inside strawberries sold in supermarkets.

Fresh strawberry at market in plastic boxes.

Contaminated strawberry products were distributed across Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales. Photo: 123rf.com

The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association says it has reason to suspect a disgruntled ex-employee is responsible.

One man has been taken to hospital for assessment after swallowing a portion of an embedded needle.

Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said the contaminated brands came from a farm in south-east Queensland, and were sold to Woolworths, but could also have been distributed to other stores.

So far, three incidents have been reported to the police, including one in Queensland and two in Victoria.

The two affected brands of fresh strawberry were also distributed in New South Wales.

Police warned consumers to dispose or return punnets of two brands of strawberries.

Queensland acting Chief Superintendent, Terry Lawrence, from the State Crime Command, said police believed the contamination was deliberate and was aimed at hurting someone.

"Police have spoken to the person who operates the farm and they are assisting us with our inquiries," he said.

"One person did consume a contaminated strawberry and they're being assessed at the moment."