No import of Australian strawberry brands with needle contamination: AVA


It's a crime so unusual that any motive seems almost inconceivable.

Australia's industry development officer Jennifer Rowling said: "It's quite devastating for our growers - they're really upset about it, obviously, because this is their livelihood and someone has taken it upon themselves to do something really nasty".

Reports out of three Aussie states have strawberry lovers checking their fresh fruit carefully.

Her government is offering a Aus$100,000 (US$71,500) reward for any information that leads to the capture and conviction of those responsible. "It is simply unacceptable".

"For all other brands, our advice remains that you can continue to eat strawberries, but you should cut them up before eating".

The statement added: "As the products have yet to be forensically examined, it is unknown if the contamination is related to the original Queensland incident or a copycat".

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Strawberry prices have dropped around the country. You've got more chance of winning lotto than being affected'.

"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". A number of grocers have removed the berries from their shelves.

On Thursday, the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association said it had "reason to suspect" a former employee was responsible but police are still investigating.

"We are looking at points of the chain from growth all the way to distribution into the stores, we're keeping a very open mind", he said.

"This is a serious issue and it just begs the question, how could any right-minded person want to put a baby or child or anybody's health at risk by doing such a terrible act?" she said.

This is a $160-million industry to Queensland... and someone is trying to sabotage the industry but also in doing that, they are putting babies' and children's and families' lives at risk.