Strawberry needle scare strikes again in New Zealand

Another needle has been found inside a strawberry in New Zealand, the second such incident in the country an...

Posted: Nov 26, 2018 12:24 PM
Updated: Nov 26, 2018 12:24 PM

Another needle has been found inside a strawberry in New Zealand, the second such incident in the country and just weeks after a nationwide food scare hit Australia over needles found in fruit.

The latest discovery was made on Saturday morning after a strawberry punnet was bought at a supermarket in Geraldine, 86 miles southwest of Christchurch on New Zealand's South Island, a police spokeswoman told CNN.

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The person who discovered the needle was unharmed, the country's Ministry for Primary Industries told New Zealand broadcaster Newshub, and as a "precautionary measure" the store removed all the fruit from its shelves.

Police are now investigating the incident. It is unclear at this stage whether the contaminated strawberries were produced in New Zealand or imported from Australia.

This is the second incident of its kind in recent months in New Zealand. In September, supermarket chain Countdown took a brand of strawberries sourced from Western Australia off its shelves when needles were found in the fruit, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Earlier this month, a 50-year-old woman was accused of putting needles or pins in strawberries after at least 100 reported cases across Australia.

Metal was also found in a banana, an apple and a mango, which the Australian government believed to be isolated "copycat" cases.

The incidents caused a nationwide panic, and fear of contamination severely damaged Australia's multimillion dollar fruit industry.

Large numbers of strawberries were recalled from the country's 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.

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