Published: Mon, September 24, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Needles found in strawberries at Auckland supermarket, customers warned

Needles found in strawberries at Auckland supermarket, customers warned

Countdown has pulled all the brand of strawberries from its shelves, as well as from FreshChoice and SuperValue last week.

A major New Zealand supermarket chain is removing Australian-brand Choice strawberries from shelves across the country after needles were found in a container of strawberries from Western Australia purchased in Auckland.

It added that the brand of strawberries affected by this withdrawal "have not previously had any issues of this nature reported and had not been withdrawn from sale in Australia".

Countdown is warning customers to cut up strawberries before eating them after needles were found in fruit bought in an Auckland supermarket.

The statement said there have been no reports of any illness or injury in New Zealand.

There have been over 100 reports of needles being found in supermarket fruit since, although some of these are thought to be copycat cases or social media stunts.

Countdown is also advising customers to cut up strawberries before eating them.

The Choice brand of strawberries was sold nationwide last week.

Woolworths Australia, Countdown's parent company, has withdrawn needles from sale as a "precautionary step" as police hunt for the original culprit amid a spate of copycat episodes.

The emergence of a sabotage scare across the Tasman is the latest blow for Australian fruit growers, who have been grappling with a plummet in demand and wholesale prices since the saga began.

More than a dozen instances of strawberry contamination have been reported in WA, while more than 100 reports of tampered fruit are being investigated by police across Australia.

In a statement, MPI said it was working with the police and Countdown to investigate the incident. The government has rushed through tough new penalties for anyone caught contaminating food.

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