Needles in strawberries reported in Kelmscott, Spearwood and Bull Creek

"There's been metal detectors purchased and tamper-proof packaging looked at", he said.

The Queensland government is now offering a $100,000 reward for any information that will help police catch those behind the strawberry needle sabotage scandal.

The government of Queensland state, where the contamination scare was first reported last week, offered a 100,000 Australian dollar ($72,000, €62,000) reward for any information on those responsible.

"How could any right-minded person want to put a baby or a child or anybody's health at risk by doing such a awful act?"

A Queensland strawberry farmer will install metal detectors to check his produce as the industry deals with the fallout from the discovery of sewing needles in punnets of the fruit.

It's a crime so unusual that any motive seems almost inconceivable: In Australia, someone is placing sewing needles inside strawberries - endangering those who eat them and sending panic across strawberry markets as prices plummet and government officials scramble to find a culprit.

The sewing needle contamination is believed to affect six separate brands of strawberries: Berry Obsession, Berry Licious, Love Berry, Donnybrook Berries, Delightful Strawberries and Oasis.

It comes as the head of the industry peak body warns about a dozen Queensland strawberry growers are likely to go under this year and more could follow if the fallout from the needle crisis spreads.


It follows similar advice for Berry Licious and Berry Obsession brands of strawberries, after six cases of contamination in recent days in Victoria and Queensland. The ABC said Saturday wholesale prices had fallen by half to 50 Australian cents per punnet, below the cost of production.

"Whoever is behind this is not just putting families at risk across Queensland and the rest of Australia - they are putting an entire industry at risk", Premier and Minister for Trade Annastacia Palaszczuk said. "Strawberries are a great fruit, and people should continue to buy them, but everyone should simply cut them up".

Consumers are being urged to cut every strawberry before eating it as a precautionary measure.

The Queensland Strawberry Growers' Association has speculated the act may have been carried out by a "disgruntled ex-employee", according to the BBC.

"I showed my dad and that's when he discovered the needle was inside". They have been recalled.

"I was shocked to see a pin sticking out of the one she bit and chose to squash the others in case and that's when we found two others".

Queensland Health is yet to recall the brand, saying it is assessing reports as they come in. Police in both states are investigating.

  • Tracy Klein