Young boy in Australia arrested for putting needles in strawberries

Ivan Schwartz
September 23, 2018

Yesterday NSW police said that of the 20 incidents reported in NSW, some were copycat or pranks and unrelated to the initial contamination in Queensland.

As the government attempts to pass the laws before parliament rises on Thursday, Littleproud launched a savage attack on the strawberry saboteurs.

Last week, Australians were warned to cut fresh strawberries before biting into them after several people found sewing needles hidden inside the fruit.

"That's how seriously I take this", Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Royalla, a rural town 35 km (21 miles) south of the capital Canberra.

Police do not believe the boy, whose name and age were not reported, is the only one responsible for putting sewing needles inside pieces of fruit.

Rebuilding confidence in the strawberry industry is the highest priority, says Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, as he encouraged Australians to continue buying the fruit.

The scare had spread across the nation by Monday, with needles reported found in strawberries in all six Australian states.

The child will be dealt with under the youth cautioning system.

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The scare has prompted a series of supermarket recalls, and some stores in New Zealand have temporarily banned the sale of Australian strawberries.

Calling the perpetrator a "coward and a grub", Morrison called on parliament to quickly raise the maximum sentence for such deliberate food contamination from ten to 15 years behind bars.

According to recent reports, a customer who bought mangoes from Coles Supermarket in Brisbane, Australia found a needle in the fruit.

"We need to just make sure that we don't reach a level of hysteria at any level of government, state or federal, that also causes harm to a good industry". "Section 13 of the Food Act requires that those involved in importing, distributing, keeping and selling food containing poison or is harmful to health can be fined not more than RM100,000 or jailed not more than 10 years or both".

The most serious cases with national security implications will be covered by sabotage offences, with penalties ranging from seven to 25 years' jail.

"The reality is that they should swing for this, they've got to do some time", he told ABC radio on Thursday morning.

The governments of Western Australia, New South Wales, and Queensland are all offering a reward of 100,000 Australian dollars, or $72,000, for information.

Other reports by GizPress

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