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Nail Found In Strawberry Punnet

A nail has been found in a strawberry punnet, almost a year after an Australia-wide contamination scandal crippled the strawberry industry.

South Australia police confirmed a customer in the country town Gawler had purchased a strawberry punnet on Monday and found a nail inside.

"The remaining stock was examined and no other items were found and police are not aware of any other such reports," police said.

Investigators have not ruled out an accidental contamination. The packaging and nail have been forensically examined, and police are waiting on results.

Additionally, police urged "responsible reporting" in this incident to avoid "generating public fear or detriment to the industry".

A number of incidents in 2018 where needles were found in strawberries cost Queensland farmers $12 million dollars, with state agriculture minister Mark Furner saying the damage to the industry had been "significant". Nearly half (42 percent) of strawberries across the country are grown in the state.

strawberry punnet
Photo: Getty.

Some farmers were forced to close their doors as demand plummeted, Furner said last year, while others were forced to dump thousands of of kilos of produce.

A 50-year-old woman was charged over the needle contamination last year, and faces 10 years imprisonment for elevated contamination charges.

There is no suggestion the nail found in a punnet in Gawler is related to the needle contamination.

SA Health has been informed of the incident.

Contact the author: abrucesmith@networkten.com.au