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Australia’s dealing with a rather odd crisis at present.
Sewing needles have been found lodged in strawberries and bananas across the country, in what some are calling “commercial terrorism”.
Last week, a man was taken to hospital after swallowing a strawberry that contained a needle. This week, the issue has escalated, with six of the country’s territories all reporting incidents. Incredibly, at least six brands are also afflicted.
The country’s minister for health Greg Hunt has ordered the “Food Standards Australia New Zealand to investigate the handling of strawberry contamination,” he tweeted.
“I urge all Australians be vigilant for potential contaminants.”
I have ordered the Food Standards Australia New Zealand to investigate the handling of strawberry contamination.
I urge all Australians be vigilant for potential contaminants.https://t.co/bakhCBh51X
— Greg Hunt (@GregHuntMP) September 17, 2018
It’s not clear who is responsible for placing needles in the fruit, but one association speculates an unhappy employee may be responsible. The reasons are even cloudier, but it has had a commercial impact on Australia’s strawberry farmers.
Two New Zealand suppliers have ceased importing Australian strawberries as a precaution. Some on Twitter also noticed that prior to the incident, strawberries were pretty cheap.
Coincidence ain’t correlation, but it sure is interesting how the price of strawberries plummeted to a low of $1 of punnet — and then the needles started being discovered, so the boxes were yanked, raising future prices when they return to shelves. https://t.co/Nemlji43u6
— Asher Wolf (@Asher_Wolf) September 16, 2018
Police are now calling Australians to “check their strawberries” before consumption.
Warning: please check your strawberries after what appears to be sewing needles were located in 2 punnets in separate regional Victorian towns. The two brands are Berry Obsession and Berry Licious. If you have a contaminated product please bring it to your local police station.
— Victoria Police (@VictoriaPolice) September 12, 2018
“Warning: please check your strawberries after what appears to be sewing needles were located in 2 punnets in separate regional Victorian towns. The two brands are Berry Obsession and Berry Licious. If you have a contaminated product please bring it to your local police station,” Victoria Police tweeted last week.
Authorities are also asking consumers to cut up their strawberries before consuming. Others are investing in more technologically advanced measures.
I want to be able to buy strawberries now! I’ll take the risk that they might have sewing needles in them. I’ll buy a metal detector. We can’t let the terrorists win. #sellmestrawbsnow
— Dave Hughes (@DHughesy) September 17, 2018