Several consumers have reported that they have discovered sewing needles inside their recently purchased strawberries. Police believe that the incident of the contamination was intentional.
On Sunday, one man who reported the contamination was the only individual known to have consumed the fruit with the sewing needle inside. Health officials say he was assessed by doctors.
Joshua Gane wrote on Facebook saying his friend had swallowed "half a sewing needle" after he bit into the strawberry.
"We then checked the other strawberries and found another sewing needle lodged inside one of them," Gane wrote. "We are now at the ER because he subsequently started experiencing severe abdominal pain.
"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," he continued.
A couple days later, two more cases popped up. On Tuesday night, two individuals say that they had contaminated strawberries that had sewing needles inside them. These consumers did not eat the product.
Health officials said on Wednesday that the products have been recalled to make sure that all the contaminated products were removed from the shelves of retailers. Also, officials say that the strawberries are scheduled to return to the shelves on Thursday.
The two brands that are subject to this recall are Berry Licious and Berry Obsession. The scary events prompted an urgent recall among multiple supermarkets and a health warning in several states of Australia. The locations are Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales. Police say that they were also found in Yarram and Ballarat. These brands were supplied to Woolworths and other stores.
"I'm out here today to advise people that if they have bought strawberries in Queensland, NSW or Victoria since early last week that they should dispose of them," Queensland's chief health officer Dr. Jeannette Young said in a press conference.
"Definitely those two are the only brands of concern, but if people don't know and they want to be ultra-cautious then it would be best if they just throw out any strawberries they've kept," Dr. Young said.
Queensland Strawberry Growers Association industry development officer Jennifer Rowling believes a "disgruntled ex-employee" may be responsible for these incidences.
"At this time, the Queensland Strawberry Growers 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," said Rowling.
"The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association is waiting on more information from Queensland Police on this matter and will update the Australian public as news becomes available to us," she continued.
According to detective superintendent Terry Lawrence, the person or persons responsible for contaminating the strawberries could be charged with maliciously causing grievous bodily harm.
The farm owners and employees are assisting with the investigation.
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