The contamination crisis affecting strawberries across the country has extended to apples and bananas, after police in New South Wales were alerted to cases of needles being found in the fruit.
Detective superintendent Daniel Doherty today told reporters a banana and apple were both found contaminated in separate “isolated” incidents in the Sydney area.
“It’s a hazardous action that’s happening from whoever’s perpetrating it,” he said.
“Really, at the end of the day, it’s an act of treachery on the community of New South Wales and across the nation.”
Det. Supt. Doherty said the banana was found in the Bankstown area of Sydney, while the contaminated apple was located in the Quakers Hill area.
“NSW Police are continuing their investigation into a number of cases of food contamination of fruit in NSW,” he said.
“We remind the public of the importance to report these incidents of contamination and reminding the public to be vigilant and exercise caution when buying strawberries and other fruit in NSW.
“This includes the original incidents that happened in Queensland but other incidents that have been reported recently across NSW.
“There have been a number of incidents which have been reported from anywhere from Tweed Heads right down to Albury.”
Authorities have also now confirmed that in NSW alone, more than 20 separate cases of strawberries found with metal objects lodged inside the fruit have been identified.
In total, six brands are affected, including Donnybrook Berries, Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries, Oasis, Berry Obsession and Berry Licious.
Coles has also pulled strawberries from shelves in stores everywhere except Western Australia, while Aldi has started selling the fruit again under the guidance of authorities.
The crisis could prove devastating for the strawberry industry as growers enter peak season.
A $100,000 reward is being offered by the Queensland government for any information that will lead to the arrest of the person or persons responsible.
The Department of Health is advising Australians to cut the fruit prior to eating.