Qld woman arrested over needles in strawberries crisis

The accused arrives at the Brisbane watch house. Source 7NewsMore

The accused arrives at the Brisbane watch house. Source 7NewsMore

A 50-year-old woman has been arrested after fresh strawberries in Australia were found to contain needles.

Ms Trinh was arrested amid a months-long, multi-jurisdiction investigation headed by Queensland police after the discovery of needles hidden inside a punnet of strawberries on September 12.

The woman is due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday.

"The case that was put is that she was motivated by some fight or revenge", Ms Roney said.

Queensland authorities notified the public of the safety risk on September 12, and reports of needle-filled strawberries cropped up in all of the Australian states in the subsequent weeks.

It was followed by needles being found in packets of strawberries in other states and in other fruit, as well as copycat incidents and a statewide campaign by the Queensland government to encourage consumers to back farmers by buying their produce.

My Ut Trinh, 50, was arrested on Sunday following a nationwide police investigation that began in September.

A former strawberry farm supervisor was accused in court on Monday of retaliating over a workplace grievance by putting needles into the fruit and sparking recalls that devastated the Australian strawberry industry.

Queensland's strawberry industry collapsed during the industry's growing season, with thousands of strawberries dumped as supermarkets and shops pulled the fruit from shelves.

"It was a crisis driven by social media and the only real victims were the strawberry growers, and to some extent other Australian fruit growers and exporters", the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association said in a statement. Major food distributors in New Zealand removed Australian strawberries from stores.

Wacker would not comment on what Trinh's motives may have been, but said investigators had "strong evidence" including DNA.

"This has probably been one of the most trying investigations that I've been part of", said Queensland Police Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker, according to Reuters. There were also isolated cases of metal found in a banana, an apple and a mango, with the government saying numerous cases were thought to be "copycat" or hoaxes.

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