A pregnant woman from Australia found needles in a bag of grapes
In Australia, the second half of last year was plagued with a genuine fruit crisis, as an astonishing number of sabotage attempts were discovered in all six states of the nation. Starting back in September, grocery store customers were shocked to find needles in fruits such as strawberries and mangoes, with a horrifying 186 cases reported in just over three months.
Back in November, however, it all seemed as if the crisis had come to a close, as several people were arrested in connection with the needle insertions. One such suspect was 50-year-old My Ut Trinh, who was "motivated by spite or revenge", according to prosecutors at the time.
As 2018 drew to a close, we thought it was all behind us, but a new year appears to have brought back old habits, as needles have been discovered in a punnet of grapes sold at a supermarket in Melbourne, as discovered by a horrified couple.
Skender Hasa and Shams Alsubaiy were having a snack after dinner when Alsubaiy reached for a grape, but only got a nasty surprise in the process - as her finger pricked against something sharp. The grapes were hidden in two separate grapes on the punnet, and the couple were horrified to discover them. "When we cut it open there was a needle stuck through it," recalled Hasa, reliving the horrors of the past year.
The entire situation was made worse by the fact that Hasa and Alsubaiy are expecting a child. "I thank God I didn’t eat them. I’m pregnant, and I don’t want anything to happen," Alsubaiy revealed, and says she plans to avoid eating grapes for the next few months, when this will hopefully all blow over.
The couple reported it to local law enforcement, and Woolworths, where the grapes were purchased from, has been made aware of the incident, as they explained in a statement: "We're aware of the customer report and will work closely with the authorities as they investigate this matter."
The authorities will be hoping that the situation does not escalate as badly as it did last year, when Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the perpetrators as "cowards", saying they could get up to 15 years if prison if they were caught.
"You are putting the livelihoods of hard-working Australians at risk, and you are scaring children," he said at the time. "And you are a coward and a grub."
The contamination spread not only to all four corners of Australia, but to nearby countries as well, as the authorities struggled to contain the crisis. Neighbouring New Zealand also had to contend with a reported case, while an Australian-grown pack of strawberries were also found contaminated in Singapore.
Things got so bad that Woolworths were forced to temporarily stop selling needles in all of their 995 stores, while some Australian farmers were forced to scrap entire harvests, losing them thousands of dollars in the process.