Contaminating suspects to face 15-year jail term in Australia

Growers are being forced to dump tonnes of berries after the sabotage

Growers are being forced to dump tonnes of berries after the sabotage

Strawberry farmers in Australia have been hit hard after more needles were found in the fruit.

The federal government has also announced $1 million in funding to help strawberry growers through the crisis, matching a commitment from the Queensland state government.

Just posting this as a warning to anyone that has bought strawberries (Berry Obsessions) from Woolworths recently.

A man in Queensland posted on Facebook that his friend had swallowed half a sewing needle after eating a strawberry from Woolworths on September 9 and had to go to hospital suffering from "severe abdominal pain".

On Wednesday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced, during a press conference in Canberra, that his government would be introducing tougher penalties for those found guilty of deliberately contaminating food or producing hoaxes or fake posts online about tampered food.

The Queensland Government is offering an additional $100,000 reward for information that leads to the conviction of the person responsible for the strawberry contamination.

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Queensland Strawberry Growers Association said in a statement that it had "reason to suspect" the culprit to be a former employee and is working with Queensland police to find the culprit.

Strawberry prices have already dropped around the country, with prices in Western Australia now below the cost of production, ABC News reported over the weekend.

Major Australian supermarket chains Coles and Aldi have pulled all strawberries from their shelves across Australia except in Western Australia state as a precaution.

"My mum Leena Lee Cufari and my step dad has worked years to build this empire they're sitting on now, they put all their money and effort in to build such a successful business", Chheang said.

Consumers are advised to cut up their strawberries before eating them.

Things have reportedly gotten so bad that some growers have recalled much of their strawberries and turned to metal detectors to restore customer confidence.

Queensland police assured Fraser Coast residents that while the incident had the hallmarks of a copycat attack, it should be treated as an isolated incident.

The scare had spread across the nation by Monday, with needles reported found in strawberries in all six Australian states. The only problem is that no one knows at one point from the growers to store shelves the needles are being inserted, and until more information about this aspect becomes available, there's no clear way to solve the problem.

But Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said resources were stretched investigating copycat incidents.

Queensland strawberry farmers are feeling the heat after the recent outbreak of needle-contaminated strawberries has caused concern for shoppers. However, police said that it was too early to speculate.

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