Australians warned to cut strawberries after needles found in fruit

This latest health scare casts a shadow over Australia's strawberry industry, which is worth more than A$130 million every year.
This latest health scare casts a shadow over Australia's strawberry industry, which is worth more than A$130 million every year.PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Australians have been warned to cut strawberries before eating them, after sewing needles were found in several punnets, triggering the withdrawal of three brands from sale nationwide.

Australian authorities earlier this week asked people to dispose of strawberries purchased from Woolworths Group if they bore the brand of Berry Licious or Berry Obsession, after three punnets were discovered to include fruit embedded with sewing needles.

The advice was expanded late on Thursday (Sept 13) after police in Australia's north-east said they had received four complaints about needles with Donnybrook branded strawberries.

All three brands have now been withdrawn from sale.

"Until advised, consumers should cut up strawberries before consuming them," Queensland state government said in a statement.

The health scare casts a shadow over Australia's strawberry industry, worth more than A$130 million (S$128 million) each year.

"We would hope the public can see this for what it is, as an isolated incident... This because strawberries are safe to eat," said Ms Jennifer Rowling, industry development officer at Strawberries Australia, which represents growers.

In Singapore, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore told The Straits Times on Saturday (Sept 15) that none of the three brands is imported into the Republic.