$100k reward to catch those spiking strawberries with needles in Australia

Australians warned to cut up strawberries after people report finding needles inside

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

Police said no one was injured by the contaminated berries by the brand Delightful Strawberries, sourced from Queensland.

Police are also investigating contamination of fruit sold by Delightful Strawberries, Love Berries and Oasis in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, and the ACT stores.

There have now been more than 10 cases of pins or needles found in strawberries reported nationally.

The strawberry industry in the state of Queensland is worth around US$93 million (NZ$142 million) annually, and the government there announced this week that it would offer a reward of A$100,000 for anyone with information about the culprit behind the unusual attack on strawberries. "It is simply unacceptable".

The BBC and ABC Australia report that sewing needles have been found embedded in strawberries, from six different brands, that came out of supermarkets in Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria, per NSW police. "I am furious about this".

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".

"Whereas we would normally be selling 30 tonnes a day of locally grown strawberries to WA markets, it has dropped to 20 tonnes".

"With strawberries you need to continue picking them", he told ABC. A number of grocers have removed the berries from their shelves.

He said unless confidence and sales recovered quickly, growers would have to leave strawberries on the ground to rot. "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.

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

Australia's strawberry industry is worth some A$130m ($94m; £70m) a year and there are concerns that such incidents could have a lasting detrimental impact on sales.



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