Strawberry needle scare: Woman allegedly spiked punnets for revenge

A 50-year-old woman sabotaged Australian supermarket strawberries with sewing needles in an alleged act of w...

Posted: Nov 12, 2018 11:47 AM
Updated: Nov 12, 2018 11:47 AM

A 50-year-old woman sabotaged Australian supermarket strawberries with sewing needles in an alleged act of workplace revenge, prosecutors told a Brisbane court Monday.

My Ut Trinh has been charged with seven counts of contamination of goods and faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted.

Accidents, disasters and safety

Australia

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Consumer products

Continents and regions

Exports and imports

Food and drink

Food products

Food safety

Fruit

Fruits and vegetables

International trade

Kinds of foods and beverages

Oceania

Product safety

Safety issues and practices

Trade and development

Trinh's arrest Sunday followed at least 100 reported cases of sewing needles or pins found in strawberries across the country earlier this year, sparking nationwide panic. Metal was also found in a banana, an apple and a mango, which the government believed to be isolated "copycat" cases or hoaxes.

Trinh is reportedly a former supervisor at the Berrylicious and Berry Obsession farm in Wamuran, north of Brisbane. Police will allege she felt mistreated by colleagues and had spoken to coworkers about taking revenge, according to CNN affiliate Nine News.

The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association (QSGA) has welcomed Trinh's arrest, but called for copycat offenders to also face charges. The case against Trinh only relates to six or seven punnets of strawberries.

"It was a crisis driven by social media and the only real victims were the strawberry growers, and to some extent other Australian fruit growers and exporters," the association said in a statement.

Queensland Police said it had conducted a "complex" national investigation "with multiple government, law enforcement and intelligence agencies" in order to zone in on Trinh.

Trinh was not granted bail. Her next court appearance will be on November 22.

Fruit crisis

Fear of strawberry contamination severely damaged Australia's multimillion dollar fruit industry.

Large numbers of strawberries were recalled from Australian supermarkets, and many farmers were forced to bin their crops. Some local and overseas buyers suspended the sale of Australian strawberries.

The incidents prompted authorities in the Australian state of Queensland to issue a warning September 12, advising consumers to cut up the fruit.

Strawberries made up 3% of Australia's fruit exports for the year ending June 2017, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The country exports strawberries to locations including Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.

Fresh fruit exports were valued at 954 million Australian dollars ($690 million) for the same period, according to a report commissioned by the Australian Horticultural Exporters Association.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 92432

Reported Deaths: 2792
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6931154
DeSoto535455
Harrison370771
Jackson335867
Madison319086
Rankin316174
Lee256166
Jones237678
Forrest231769
Washington216371
Lafayette205039
Lauderdale1990124
Bolivar177565
Oktibbeha174149
Lamar157733
Neshoba1529103
Panola142426
Sunflower139643
Lowndes138957
Warren137250
Leflore135380
Pontotoc121216
Pike120448
Monroe118265
Scott115925
Copiah115733
Coahoma111227
Holmes108558
Marshall107115
Grenada105035
Lincoln104953
Yazoo103529
Simpson100742
Union97724
Tate95037
Leake93735
Adams90936
Wayne87121
Pearl River85150
Marion83633
Prentiss80317
Covington79622
Alcorn76311
Newton75022
Itawamba74621
Tallahatchie74518
George74013
Winston72019
Tishomingo65336
Chickasaw64124
Attala64025
Tippah63716
Walthall59025
Clay56516
Hancock55720
Noxubee54015
Jasper53815
Clarke53138
Smith51814
Calhoun50612
Tunica47613
Montgomery45320
Claiborne45116
Lawrence42312
Yalobusha41514
Perry39417
Humphreys37215
Quitman3725
Stone34811
Greene33817
Webster32813
Jefferson Davis32311
Amite31110
Carroll31012
Wilkinson30117
Kemper28615
Sharkey26212
Jefferson2379
Benton2181
Franklin1873
Choctaw1775
Issaquena1033
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 128818

Reported Deaths: 2284
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson18772333
Mobile12975289
Montgomery8598173
Madison742275
Tuscaloosa7081114
Lee560359
Shelby557250
Baldwin503348
Marshall378442
Etowah330645
Calhoun324939
Morgan314226
Houston264422
Elmore249747
DeKalb232619
St. Clair219835
Walker219180
Talladega203426
Limestone194219
Cullman180817
Franklin173428
Dallas173226
Russell16922
Autauga166424
Lauderdale161633
Colbert158126
Escambia155424
Blount152714
Jackson148511
Chilton146327
Covington130327
Dale130043
Coffee12488
Pike11359
Tallapoosa112983
Chambers111742
Clarke104617
Marion92128
Butler90638
Barbour8247
Marengo69619
Winston68712
Lowndes64527
Pickens62814
Bibb61910
Hale61028
Randolph59112
Bullock58514
Lawrence57820
Monroe5738
Geneva5564
Cherokee54816
Washington54513
Perry5366
Clay5317
Wilcox53011
Crenshaw51931
Conecuh51711
Macon46720
Henry4594
Sumter41719
Fayette4159
Choctaw34412
Lamar3372
Cleburne3166
Greene30015
Coosa1603
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Few Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 72°
Columbus
Overcast
73° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 73°
Oxford
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 70°
Starkville
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 70°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather