Woolworths Strawberries Found With Needles Inside
Two brands withdrawn from shelves after sewing needles found in berries.
A "disgruntled ex-employee" may be behind sewing needles being found in strawberry punnets in two states across Australians.
Australians who have bought strawberries in the last week are being urged to throw them out, and the affected brands have been pulled off shelves, after needles were found embedded in fruit sold in Woolworths stores.
A Brisbane man claimed last weekend he had found several small metal needles inside strawberries from a Woolworths store, from the brand Berry Obsession. He claimed his friend had "[bitten] through a strawberry and [swallowed] half a sewing needle".
"We then checked the other strawberries and found another sewing needle lodged inside one of them," the man claimed, saying his friend went to hospital after he started experiencing abdominal pain.
In a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Queensland Health and Queensland Police said the issue had been traced to one farm in the state's southeast and two specific brands -- Berry Obsession and Berrylicious -- with fruit "contaminated with sewing needles."
Despite the problem being tracked to just two brands, authorities urged people to throw out any strawberries they had purchased recently, just to be safe.
"If they have bought any strawberries in Queensland, NSW or Victoria since early last week, they should dispose of them," a QLD Health spokesperson said.
"If people have any strawberries... it would be safest to just dispose of them."
"It could be serious if someone were to swallow a sewing needle, it could get caught in their gut."
Needles have been found in three stores nationwide, one in Queensland and two in Victoria, but the supplier distributes to many other stores.
In a statement, the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association raised the possibility of foul play.
"[We] have reason to suspect that a disgruntled ex-employee may have orchestrated the occurrence, wherein sewing needles were found in a number of strawberries, in Queensland and Victoria," the association said.
"To our current knowledge, two labels, Berry Licious and Berry Obsession are the only affected lines. The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association is waiting on more information from Queensland Police on this matter and will update the Australian public as news becomes available to us."
A Woolworths said the supermarket was withdrawing the affected brands from shelves.
"Woolworths takes food safety very seriously and is working closely with authorities as they investigate this matter," the spokesperson said in a statement.
"We have withdrawn Berry Obsession and Berrylicious branded strawberries from sale while this incident is being investigated with our suppliers. Customers are advised to return these products to their local Woolworths for a full refund."