Six strawberry brands 'contaminated', as government offers six figure reward

NSW police have warned that fruit sold under the Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries and Oasis brands had needles inserted by a possible copycat.

One man has been taken to hospital after swallowing fragments and a nine-year-old boy reportedly found a needle while eating a strawberry, but did not swallow it.

A fifth case of strawberry needle contamination has been discovered in NSW, with police warning Maitland residents to be cautious after pins were discovered in a punnet of Wallace Road Berries bought at Coles Green Hills on Wednesday.

Young advised residents that all strawberries, regardless of brand, should be cut before they're eaten.

Reports out of three Aussie states have strawberry lovers checking their fresh fruit carefully.

The Queensland government is now offering a $100,000 reward for any information that will help police catch those behind the strawberry needle sabotage scandal.

Coles says it is withdrawing all brands of Queensland grown strawberry punnets from shelves across the country, except in Western Australia. "It is simply unacceptable, I am furious about this".

ABC reported that as consumers have shied away from purchasing the fruit over fears it will be contaminated with needles, farmers have ended up throwing out mass quantities of the strawberries they can't sell.

"Whereas we would normally be selling 30 tonnes a day of locally grown strawberries to WA markets, it has dropped to 20 tonnes".

He said unless confidence and sales recovered quickly, growers would have to leave strawberries on the ground to rot.

"We've got to look at this as a whole, it's a very, very broad picture and we can't speculate in any way, shape or form", Queensland Acting Chief Superintendent Terry Lawrence told reporters on Friday.

WA strawberry growers have urged local shoppers not to avoid their produce after sales plummeted and prices crashed because of the sewing needle contamination in Queensland.

  • Eleanor Harrison