'If in doubt, throw them out': Needles in strawberries prompt warning

'If in doubt, throw them out': Needles in strawberries prompt warning

Queensland man Hoani Hearne wound up in hospital after swallowing part of a needle and developing severe abdominal pain on Sunday.

A couple in Gladstone found a needle inserted into a strawberry on Tuesday, after their nine-year-old son bit into the booby-trapped fruit.

However, the Donnybrook farm strawberries are sold broadly across the country, in both Coles and Woolworths.

Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said anyone who had Berry Licious or Berry Obsession strawberries at home should not use them.

The couple called police after seeing a breaking news alert yesterday warning of incidents across the country.

Investigators are looking at "all options and avenues of the packaging and processing of the strawberries", Queensland Police Acting Detective Chief Superintendent Terry Lawrence told 9NEWS.

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The Stevenson family were shocked to find the strawberries they purchased from Woolworths had been contaiminated with needles. "We'd be lucky at the moment to get between $3-4 a kilo", Mr Schultz said.

On Thursday Queensland police announced they were investigating a suspected copycat incident after a metal rod was discovered on top of strawberries inside a plastic punnet at a Coles in Gatton. "I pulled it out and there was a needle right there embedded in the strawberry", she said.

"They are also contacting the supplier, the police and health and safety", Gane stated.

Berry Obsession, Berry Licious, Love Berry, Donnybrook Berries, Delightful Strawberries, and Oasis are the brands affected.

"At this time, the Queensland Strawberry Association have reason to suspect that a disgruntled ex-employee may have orchestrated the occurrence, wherein sewing needles were found in a number of strawberries, in Queensland and Victoria", Industry Development Officer Jennifer Rowling said.

The complaint spurred an investigation from Queensland authorities, after it was revealed the two contaminated brands were sold in stores in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and the ACT.

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"We're keeping a very open mind as to where this may have occurred somewhere between the actual growing of the strawberry through to the end of the production line, including even further through to distribution and going onto the shelves", he said.

She told Seven News she rushed to call his school to stop him eating the fruit but it was too late.

"Until advised, consumers should cut up strawberries before consuming them", Queensland state government said in a statement. Any strawberries bought from 13 September are safe.

Det. Supt. Lawrence said officers were now identifying past and present employees of the two farms concerned, which involves more than 100 people, with plans to interview them.

'If you are in doubt, just throw them out'.

Anyone with information that could assist the police investigation is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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It remained a Category 1 hurricane with top sustained winds of 80 miles per hour , but stronger gusts have been reported. Hurricane Florence has claimed the lives of four people in North Carolina, and left hundreds of thousands without power.


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