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Australian officials warn of needle danger for 6 strawberry brands

Australian authorities are warning its citizens against eating certain brands of strawberries after some have been found to contain hidden sewing needles inside.

The needle scare started with the Berry Obsession, Berry Licious and Donnybrook brands, but has since expanded to include three more brands -- Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries and Oasis.

Dr. Jeannette Young, Queensland's chief health officer, said the Donnybrook brand would be pulled from store shelves.

"If you have Donnybrook strawberries at home, or are unsure of the brand, you should return them to the store or throw them away," Young said. "These further instances are cases in which needles have been found within the strawberries and people have gone to eat them, have cut them up and found the needles."

Young advised residents that all strawberries, regardless of brand, should be cut before they're eaten. It's unclear exactly how many strawberries have been compromised.

Investigators plan to do forensic testing on the needles and say they're particularly focused on how the fruits were transported.

"We've got to look at this as a whole. It is a very, very broad picture and we can't speculate in any way, shape or form," said Terry Lawrence, Queensland acting chief superintendent.

Until investigators have a better idea where the needles are coming from, they recommend all strawberries be cut or disposed of.

The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association said it's likely the affected strawberries were tampered with between the time they were packed and the time they were bought.

"As with all farmers who produce food for our nation, strawberry growers strive to ensure the quality, security and freshness of their produce and these spiteful incidents have been extremely disheartening and troubling," the association said. "Regretfully, preventing random acts of extremism, sabotage and simple maliciousness from people with a grudge appears to be an increasing challenge across our society."

The association said it could be a disgruntled former farmer who's putting the needles in the strawberries.

One Australian woman posted photos online showing the needles inside strawberries her 10-year-old son was eating.


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