The strawberry industry in the state of Queensland is worth around $93 million annually, and the government there announced this week that it would offer a reward of roughly $70,000 for anyone with information about the culprit behind the unusual attack on strawberries.
This is a $160-million industry to Queensland... and someone is trying to sabotage the industry but also in doing that, they are putting babies' and children's and families' lives at risk.
Farmers, who face losing entire crops, are pleading...
Both of New Zealand's biggest supermarket companies said they had stopped ordering strawberries from Australia, with the local season set to start next week.
An investigation is underway after a metal object was found inserted into a banana in a Coles supermarket in Queensland, the state Police Commissioner has confirmed.
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Columbia Gas is owned by NiSource, which serves almost 4 million natural gas and 500,000 electric customers across seven states. Gas utility representatives are going door to door to shut off meters and check for residual gas within the home.
Since then contaminated fruit has also been discovered in other states including New South Wales, Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.
"A member of the public today presented at York police station to report his concerns that a needle had been in a punnet of strawberries", the Western Australian police said in a statement.
The health department said strawberries under three brands had been recalled: Berry Obsession, Berry Licious and Donnybrook Berries.
TONNES of strawberries are being dumped or going to waste around the country as the needle contamination scare threatens the future of the half-a-billion-dollar industry.
It comes amid already existing pressure by supermarkets to move stock and sell punnets at bargain prices - in some cases as low as $2 a kilo.
Amid the contamination, the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association on Wednesday said they suspected that the culprit was possibly a "disgruntled" former employee.
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Emergency officials warned residents that the peril had probably not passed, as the storm continued to dump torrential rain. Just after midnight, the station tweeted that everyone had safely evacuated. "We didn't know where to go", she said.
"Queensland Health has advised people should cut up strawberries before consuming them".
Chantal Faugeras said she found three needles after buying the fruit from Wingham Coles, on the mid-north coast.
"We urge customers to follow the advice of the health authorities and chop all strawberries before consumption".
Sheana Arcon and her father told 9 News Perth they bought the strawberries from Woolworths on Albany Highway in Kelmscott on Monday afternoon.
WA's strawberry industry comprises 50 growers and 310ha of fruit with a value of about $280 million a year to the State's economy.
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