It's such a strange thing that every motive is hard to imagine: In Australia, someone puts needles in strawberries – endangers those who eat them and panic about strawberry markets when prices fall and government officials try to find a culprit ,
In recent days, a number of people in Australia have opened boxes of strawberries that they have bought in supermarkets, only to find that the fruit has small sewing needles or needles inside. At least one person claims to have accidentally swallowed one.
Some Australians have posted photos on social media showing needles found in their berries. The Australian newspaper reported that it was at least seven reported cases in three Australian states, raising concerns that imitators work separately to contaminate the berries.
The strawberry industry in Queensland is worth about $ 93 million a year, and the local government said this week it would offer a reward of about $ 70,000 to anyone with information about the culprit behind the strange attack on strawberries.
"Someone is trying to sabotage the industry, but it also endangers the lives of babies, children and families," said Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk at a press conference this week. "It's just unacceptable, I'm angry about it."
Australian Broadcasting Corp. reports that consumers, as consumers shy away from buying the fruits, fear that they might be contaminated with needles, eventually throw away masses of strawberries that they can not sell. The broadcaster also said that wholesale prices have dropped by about half.
Jamie Michael, head of the Western Australian Strawberry Growers Association, told Australian television this week that the pinpricks hit strawberry season in the main season, disrupting the market at a particularly unfavorable time.
"With strawberries you have to pick them further," he told ABC. "If you stop picking them for a few days, they stop producing fruit, so we try to weather this storm and hope it gets better, but it costs it."
On Friday, Australian police said in a statement that six brands could now be affected, though government officials on Saturday told reporters that only three brands have been recalled. A number of grocers have removed the berries from their shelves.
In a statement this week, the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association said there was "reason to suspect" that an angry former employee was responsible for inserting needles into the strawberries.
But on Saturday, Queensland's Deputy Chief Superintendent Terry Lawrence told reporters that the suspicion is "something we do not subscribe to".
"We look at points in the chain from growth to distribution to stores, we are very open," he said.
Queensland's Prime Minister Palaszczuk told reporters that "the perpetrators of the crimes they commit could get up to 10 years in prison, if not more."
"How could a righteous person endanger a baby or a child, or another's health, when doing such a terrible act?" She asked.
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