Needle found in Australian strawberries sold in NZ

Ivan Schwartz
September 25, 2018

Woolworths-owned supermarket chain Countdown announced it was removing Choice brand strawberries, imported from Western Australia, from shelves across NZ after an Auckland customer reported discovering needles in their fruit on Sunday.

Needles, first found in strawberries produced by one supplier in the northern state of Queensland, are now turning up around the country in the berries and other fruits.

"Customers can return any Choice brand of strawberries they may have at home to Countdown for peace of mind and a full refund", the supermarket said in a statement.

The statement said there have been no reports of any illness or injury in New Zealand.

The case follows more than 100 reported cases of needles in fruit, across Australia.

Auckland resident Ly Nguyen was alarmed to hear about the discovery of needles in strawberries sold by Countdown.

"If people are genuinely anxious, our advice is that they should cut the strawberries before eating, to provide absolute confidence".

West Australians are shunning strawberries in the wake of the needle contamination scare in Queensland, sending prices crashing and forcing farmers to dump tonnes of unwanted produce.

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After the scandal hit, Australia's Department of Agriculture and Water Resources enforced interim control measures for strawberry exports with a "nil tolerance" approach to metal contaminants.

About 80 growers were associated with the volunteer industry group but it was estimated there were about 150 strawberry farmers nationwide, not include many smaller businesses.

New Zealanders are now being advised to cut up their strawberries.

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She said she ate the fruit often but usually in the summer when it was in season.

"While we have a heightened awareness of the issues, there is absolutely no reason to think New Zealand strawberries will be targeted".

"I'm not too casual about it either", he said.

Foodstuffs said last week that it would halt the distribution of Australian strawberries in New Zealand.

Other reports by GizPress

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