Six strawberry brands recalled as $100,000 reward offered to catch needle saboteur

Strawberry punnets

A $100,000 reward has been offered for information on the Queenslandstrawberry saboteur amid fears six brands across four states have been targeted with needle insertion.

Fruit sold under Berry Obsession, Berry Licious and Donnybrook brands have been affected, while New South Wales police warn fruit sold under the Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries and Oasis brands were inserted with needles by a possible copycat.

The Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, has issued the reward over concerns for growers as well as consumers.

“How could any right-minded person want to put a baby or a child or anybody’s health at risk by doing such a dreadful act?,” Palaszczuk told reporters on Saturday.

“This is putting families’ lives at risk and it’s also putting the strawberry industry at risk. We need to catch those responsible.”

In a statement late Friday, NSW police said: “As the products have yet to be forensically examined, it is unknown if the contamination is related to the original Queensland incident or a copycat.”

Products sold under those labels have been pulled from shelves but it is unclear just how big the health issue has become with punnets being sold across Australia.

Empty shelves, normally stocked with strawberry punnets, are seen at a Coles in Brisbane on Friday.
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 Empty shelves, normally stocked with strawberry punnets, are seen at a Coles in Brisbane on Friday. Photograph: Dan Peled/AAP

A health warning to throw out or cut up strawberries remains in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia as authorities hunt those responsible.

“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.

He says there is no link between the Donnybrook berry contamination and the Berry Obsession and Berry Licious cases.

On Thursday, Queensland police announced they were also investigating a suspected copycat incident after a metal rod was discovered on top of strawberries inside a plastic punnet at Coles in Gatton.

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Source:-.theguardian