Australia searches for culprit hiding sewing needles in strawberries

Aussies need to dice up their strawberries carefully

It's a crime so unusual that any motive seems almost inconceivable.

A $100,000 reward has reportedly been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Australia's strawberry spikers, amid fears up to six brands may have been contaminated with needles and pins.

A Coles customer found pins sticking from the sabotaged fruit after purchasing the punnet from a supermarket in Engadine in Sydney's south on Friday.

NSW Police said in statement: "These brands are believed to be sold in stores in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, and the Australian Capital Territory".

A Coles spokesperson told Starts at 60 that they have complied with Queensland Health's requests to remove affected strawberries from sale.

Police asked anyone who finds a needle in their strawberries to take the punnet their local station.

The strawberry industry in the state of Queensland is worth around US$93 million (NZ$142 million) annually, and the government there announced this week that it would offer a reward of A$100,000 for anyone with information about the culprit behind the unusual attack on strawberries.

Prices for strawberries dropped to unbelievable lows in the lead-up to the decision by Coles and Aldi.

"Strawberries are a great fruit, and people should continue to buy them, but everyone should simply cut them up". You've got more chance of winning lotto than being affected'.

On Thursday, the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association said it had "reason to suspect" a former employee was responsible but police are still investigating.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has issued the reward over concerns for growers as well as consumers. "It is a very, very broad picture and we can't speculate in any way, shape or form", said Terry Lawrence, Queensland acting chief superintendent.

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