Needles found in more Australian strawberries, A$100k reward offered

Empty shelves normally stocked with strawberry punnets are seen at a Coles Supermarket in Brisbane

Empty shelves normally stocked with strawberry punnets are seen at a Coles Supermarket

The concerned consumer handed in the infected product to their local police station after they found the three sharp objects inside the berry.

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".

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told media on Saturday investigators were doing "everything they possibly can" to find those responsible for the tampering, and pleaded with the public to come forward if they knew any information.

He says there is no link between the three most recent cases and the Wamuran farm that sparked an initial health warning after supplying contaminated berries to Queensland, NSW and Victoria under the brand names Berry Obsession and Berry Licious.

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Fruit sold under Berry Obsession, Berry Licious and Donnybrook brands have been affected, while NSW police warn fruit sold under the Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries and Oasis brands were inserted with needles by a possible copycat.

One Australian woman posted photos online showing the needles inside strawberries her 10-year-old son was eating.

The incidents have been piling up, with contaminated strawberries found with needles purchased at supermarkets in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

Officers from the Sutherland Police Area Command were notified on Friday about the unsafe punnet of Delightful Strawberries, and seized it for their inquiries into what appears to be sabotage with a nationwide range.

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The association said it could be a disgruntled former farmer who's putting the needles in the strawberries. "It is a very, very broad picture and we can't speculate in any way, shape or form", said Terry Lawrence, Queensland acting chief superintendent.

Police are also investigating a copycat saboteur after a Coles employee at a Gatton store, about 90 kilometres west of Brisbane, found a "small silver rod" on top of strawberries in a punnet.

Health officials have urged people purchasing the fruit to be cautious.

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