Needle found in Australian strawberries sold in New Zealand

New Zealand supermarket withdraws Australian strawberry brand over needles

Australian strawberries pulled from New Zealand shelves after needles found

New Zealand has reported its first case of a contaminated punnet of strawberries at a branch of the Woolworth's-owned supermarket chain Countdown on Sunday.

It has been almost a week since the first needle was found in a punnet of strawberries bought in Queensland.

"Customers can return any Choice brand of strawberries they may have at home to Countdown for peace of mind and a full refund".

The chain said no illness or injury has been reported in New Zealand.

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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.

The problem seems to have started with a Facebook post earlier this month by a man who said his friend had swallowed part of a needle hidden in a strawberry and went to the hospital.

Incidents of needles in strawberries in Australia have prompted some Kiwi strawberry farmers to look at buying metal detectors.

Consumers have rallied around strawberry producers nationally after weeks of health warnings following needles discovered in three Queensland brands - Berry Licious, Berry Obsession and Donnybrook.

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It also said it was in contact with both Australian and New Zealand authorities investigating the matter.

The strawberries in Auckland, originally from Western Australia state, were sold in New Zealand Countdown stores nationwide last week.

Asked specifically about which Countdown supermarket store the affected strawberries were found at, a spokeswoman would not say.

"While we have a heightened awareness of the issues, there is absolutely no reason to think New Zealand strawberries will be targeted".

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"I'm hoping no New Zealander would be such an idiot", he said, according to the New Zealand Herald newspaper, adding that food safety regulators were conducting a "thorough inquiry".

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