Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

'Disgruntled ex-employee' blamed for needle in Woolworths strawberries

'Disgruntled ex-employee' blamed for needle in Woolworths strawberries

An ex-employee has since been blamed for planting sewing needles inside the strawberries.

"And told the teacher there was a needle in his strawberry".

The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association believes a former employee at the supermarket chain Woolworths put needles inside the fruit, according to reports.

Queensland Police Service, who have launched an investigation into the potentially hazardous findings, revealed that affected brands include "Berry Obsession" and "Berry Licious", according to an update on the agency's Facebook account.

So far, four incidents of horrified consumers discovering contaminated fruit have been reported to police. The two brands can be found in Woolworths and potentially other stores.

The owner of the farm linked to the needle scandal was said to be "heartbroken" over the news.

She said the punnets were both Delightful Strawberries branded products.

"I said I need you to stop him from eating the strawberries".

Police are cautious to point fingers.

Acting Detective Chief Superintendent Terry Lawrence said the item was lying on top of the punnet and had not been inserted into the fruit.

He wouldn't comment on the QSGA's theory that an angry employee had planted the needles.

"We're not going to go into speculation".

"We want everybody to check their strawberries before consuming them ... just cut them up, have a look", Supt Lawrence said.

"There is a comment by the QSGA and we will talk to them to see if they have any information to assist us".

Joshua Gane was one of the many who found a needle in his strawberries.

At the time, Gane said his friend was experiencing abdominal pain and explained he wanted to share the post so children didn't have to endure similar pain.

"I found a needle, bit into it by accident and it snapped in half - or what felt like it snapped in half - and my knee jerk reaction was to swallow", the man told 7 News.

It comes after Queensland Health advised for anyone concerned they may have consumed the contaminated strawberries to contact 13 43 25 84 or speak to their GP immediately.

Two people in Victoria have also come forward with similar experiences.

The contaminated strawberries were identified by a customer in Gladstone.

"Coles takes the safety of the food we sell seriously and we are working with our suppliers, police and state health regulators to investigate", a spokesperson said in a statement.

The farms are not related to the farm packaging strawberries under the Berry Licious and Berry Obsession brands which was hit with a needle crisis earlier in the week.

Queensland Health issued a similar statement.

The initial problem involved punnets of the "Berry Obsession" and "Berrylicious" brands, sold in Woolworths stores in Queensland, NSW and Victoria, had been pulled from shelves, and the public urged to throw out any punnets they have.

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