A metal object has been found in a banana, just days after more strawberries were pulled from supermarket shelves over fears of needles planted inside them.
Queensland Police confirmed in a statement to Starts at 60 that a 62-year-old woman is assisting Maryborough police with their inquiries over the alleged contamination in a local supermarket in the area. It is believed to be an isolated incident.
“Police are confident no other products were contaminated in this alleged incident,” the statement added. “It is also being treated as an isolated incident without any links to other food contamination investigations.
“The community is reminded that contaminating food is treated as a serious offence and a threat to public safety. All reported incidents will be investigated thoroughly.”
It comes after South Australia reported its first needle found in a punnet of strawberries at the weekend, with SA Police releasing a warning urging residents in the state to check punnets of Mal’s Black Label strawberries. It’s not clear if these incidents are connected in any way.
Meanwhile, it’s believed another six brands of strawberries could be affected by the contamination, as police issued a fresh warning to customers just days ago.
On Friday it was reported that punnets produced by Berry Obsession, Berry Licious and Donnybrook Strawberries had been pulled from the shelves of major supermarkets across the entire country, along with three more brands.
A force spokesperson said: “Whilst three brands – Berry Obsession, Berry Licious, and Donnybrook Berries – have been recalled nationwide, it is now believed the contamination may also affect – Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries, and Oasis brands of strawberries.
“These brands are believed to be sold in stores in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, and the Australian Capital Territory. Police are continuing to liaise with retailers to ensure that all stock from the affected date have been removed from sale.”
The news was followed by an announcement from Queensland Government which, according to the ABC, is offering a reward of $100,000 for information that leads to the arrest of the person responsible for contaminating strawberries with sewing needles.
An urgent recall was originally issued on Wednesday following the discovery of needles planted inside the fruit, with Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young advising anyone who has purchased strawberries from the Berry Liscious and Berry Obsession brands to dispose of their fruit immediately.
Just two days later, three more affected punnets were reported to police, this time coming from Donnybrook strawberry farms, north of Brisbane – the same area as the original farm. The three new contaminated punnets were reportedly found in Tweed Heads on the New South Wales border, Redbank Plains, west of Brisbane and Everton Park, in north Brisbane, the ABC reports.
The revelations came after a NSW mother claimed her 10-year-old child discovered a pin in a strawberry on Wednesday.
A Coles spokesperson told Starts at 60 that they have complied with Queensland Health’s requests to remove affected strawberries from sale.
“As a precaution, Coles is also withdrawing all brands and sizes of Queensland grown strawberry punnets from sale in Coles Supermarkets in all states (except Western Australia), in Coles Express stores and via Coles online,” they said in a statement.
“The safety of our customers is our top priority and anyone concerned about their health should seek medical advice. Coles will be working with growers and suppliers to offer support and will ensure that when supply recommences all strawberry punnets are fully inspected before they are sent to supermarkets.”