23/09/18: Needles found in strawberries at New Zealand’s Countdown supermarket


Australia’s strawberry industry faces a threat from a mystery saboteur

A New Zealand supermarket has issued a statement that needles have been found in a punnet of strawberries sourced from Western Australia at one of its outlets, according to local media reports on Sunday (Sep 23).

Countdown Supermarkets chain has withdrawn the Choice brand of strawberries from its shelves “as a precautionary measure”, the New Zealand Herald reported.

According to the Herald, the strawberries were sold nationwide last week.

“Customers can return any Choice brand of strawberries they may have at home to Countdown for peace of mind and a full refund,” the supermarket said in the statement carried by local media.

“As an extra precaution and following similar advice from public health authorities in Australia, customers should cut up any Australian strawberries before eating them,” it said.

“Countdown is in contact with both New Zealand and Australian authorities as they investigate this matter.”

The statement added that there have been “no reports of any illness or injury in New Zealand”.

On Thursday, sewing needles were taken off the shelves at a major Australian supermarket chain amid a national panic over sharp objects being found inside strawberries and other fruit.

Police in Australia received reports of more than 100 alleged incidents of pins and needles being found in fruit since the scare began in Queensland state earlier this month.

Most are thought to be pranks or jokes on social media, but at least two minors have been questioned by police for carrying out hoaxes.

The fruit scare has been given a national and international profile by new Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has addressed it publicly several times in the last few days.

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