Strawberry growers needled by 'terrorism'

Strawberry growers needled by 'terrorism'

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INSIDE: An example of one of the needles found in a strawberry.

INSIDE: An example of one of the needles found in a strawberry.

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The strawberry industry feels it's under attack after more needles were found.

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A HEALTH warning remains in place to throw out or cut up strawberries across most of Australia after sewing needles were found in the fruit in all six states.

New Zealand has pulled the Australian strawberries from its supermarket shelves, as police investigate after metal needles were found in punnets of fruit across the country.

Nervous farmers fear a multimillion-dollar sabotage, with Queensland Strawberry Growers Association vice president Adrian Schultz blaming "commercial terrorism" for bringing the industry to its knees.

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"I'm angry for all the associated people, it's the farmers, the people who supply them, the packaging people, the truckies with families to support, who suddenly lose their jobs ... it's far-reaching," he said.

A farmer in Queensland says he will install a metal detector to check his produce while others are destroying their crops, rather than pick them, to save money, the Courier-Mail reports.

Two contaminated punnets of Mal's Black Label strawberries have been found in separate towns outside Adelaide, with the latest in Morphett Vale.

The Mal's Black Label strawberries were grown in Western Australia, where a man on Monday reported to the York Police Station in regional WA that he'd found a needle in a punnet of strawberries.

The warning to throw out or cut up strawberries remains in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has ordered Food Standards Australia New Zealand to investigate whether there are supply chain weaknesses or systemic changes needed.

Coles supermarkets have pulled all strawberries from their shelves, except Western Australia, as a precaution.

Aldi supermarkets are returning non-contaminated strawberry brands to their shelves.

Berry Obsession, Berry Licious and Donnybrook Berries have recalled their strawberries nationwide.

Foodstuffs and Countdown, which are owned by Woolworths and control nearly the entire New Zealand grocery market, on Monday announced they had stopped sending out Australian strawberries to their stores.

Australian Associated Press

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