An ex-employee has been blamed for planting sewing needles inside strawberries which were sold at a number of Woolworths supermarkets across the country.
In a statement released by Queensland Strawberry Growers Association on Wednesday, it was confirmed the company had suspicions a certain ex-employee had inserted the needles into the strawberries which were found over the last week.
“At this time, the Queensland Strawberry Association have reason to suspect that a disgruntled ex-employee may have orchestrated the occurrence, wherein sewing needles were found in a number of strawberries, in Queensland and Victoria,” Industry Development Officer Jennifer Rowling said.
“To our current knowledge, two labels, Berry Licious and Berry Obsession are the only affected lines.
“We will update the Australian public as news becomes available to us.”
The urgent recall of Berry Liscious and Berry Obsession brands was made after Joshua Gane posted a photo on Facebook of a needle inside a strawberry his friend had purchased from Woolworths.
“Just posting this as a warning to anyone that has bought strawberries (Berry Obsessions) from Woolworths recently,” Gane wrote on September 9. “Driving up to the coast when Hoani van Dorp bites through a strawberry and swallows half a sewing needle. We then checked the other strawberries and found another sewing needle lodged inside one of them.”
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.
“We are now at the ER because he subsequently started experiencing severe abdominal pain,” he continued. “Just being a helpful member of the community and making sure your children don’t have to endure what we have had to experience today. Please make your family and friends aware.”
The strawberries in question were purchased from Woolworths at the Strathpine Centre, in the north of Brisbane. However, Woolworths have received a total of three reports from customers in Victoria and Queensland of contaminated strawberries from the brands in question.
A Woolworths spokesperson told Starts at 60: “Woolworths takes food safety very seriously and is working closely with authorities as they investigate this matter.
“We have withdrawn Berry Obsession and Berry Licious branded strawberries from sale while this incident is being investigated with our suppliers.
“Customers are advised to return these products to their local Woolworths for a full refund.”