WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- People are finding sewing needles hidden in store-bought strawberries and other fruits.
- Similar cases have now been reported across all six states of Australia.
- A monetary reward is being offered by the Queensland state government for any information regarding the incidents.
After sewing needles were first found hidden inside strawberries, police in Australia have also received reports that needles were also hidden inside an apple and a banana bought in different districts of Sydney.
According to a News.com.au report, there have been 26 cases of fruit and needle incidents across all six Australian states as of Tuesday evening.
News.com.au said that the police have received more reports of needles being found in strawberries from other Perth suburbs like Bull Creek, Kelmscott, and Spearwood.
So far, two people have accidentally swallowed the needles and sought medical attention from hospitals.
In a viral post earlier this month, a man in Queensland claimed that his friend accidentally swallowed half a sewing needle while eating strawberries. When the rest of the strawberries were checked, another needle was found lodged inside one of them.
Joshua Gane said his friend had to go to the ER after he “started experiencing severe abdominal pain.”
According to The Courier Mail, 21-year-old Hoani Hearne was also taken to the hospital on September 9, when she developed severe abdominal pain after swallowing part of a needle.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that sometime Monday, a man in York, Western Australia, also found a needle while he was washing his strawberries.
Unfortunately, the police still don’t have an idea who did it, how the needles got into the store-bought strawberries, or at which stage of the production process it might have happened.
According to The Australian, the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association surmised last Thursday that it was possible that the culprit could be a disgruntled former employee. But after similar cases were reported in other Australian states, authorities are no longer sure.
The vice-president of the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association, Adrian Schultz, called out the crisis as “commercial terrorism.”
He warned that it could cause problems for the entire fruit industry, and said: “I’m angry for all the associated people, it’s the farmers, the people who supply them, the packaging people, the truckies with families to support, who suddenly lose their jobs … it’s far-reaching.”
A report from News.com.au announced that the Queensland state government is offering AU$100,000 ($72,000) as a reward for information.