A woman has been arrested in Queensland, Australia, in connection with the ‘strawberry contamination scare’ where sewing needles were found hidden inside fruit.
Police said the 50-year-old was arrested on Sunday following a complex nationwide investigation which was launched after shocked shoppers first reported the contamination in September.
A customer took a disturbing photo of a needle wedged inside a strawberry. It’s believed the scare affected several states in Australia.
There were over 100 reports of needles being found in strawberries, though many were suspected to be copycat cases or social media stunts.
Farmers were forced to dump tonnes of berries, and supermarkets pulled the fruit off sale.
The first cases emerged in Queensland, where a man was taken to hospital with stomach pains after eating strawberries.
The scare spread to every Australian state and later to New Zealand, raising public alarm.
In response, Australia’s government raised the maximum prison term for fruit tampering from 10 to 15 years.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison vowed to “throw the book” at anyone responsible, saying: “It’s not funny, putting the livelihoods of hard-working Australians at risk, and you are scaring children. And you are a coward and a grub.”
The arrested woman, who has not been named, is set to appear in a Brisbane court on Monday.
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