Metal objects have now been found inside several fruits as the Australian needle crisis intensifies
Earlier this month, several people in the nation of Australia were mortified to discover sewing needles located in grocery store-bought strawberries. In all six states of Australia there were reports of this horrifying fruit contamination, and at least two people have been taken to hospital after suffering from abdominal pain.
Then, as anxieties reached fever pitch, law enforcement made an arrest. Police in New South Wales arrested a young boy who admitted to having inserted the needles into the strawberries as a "prank", with Acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith confirming the arrest.
"Obviously in the last few days we found a young person has admitted to a prank, including putting needles in strawberries," stated Smith, adding that offenders would "feel the full weight of the law". But what Smith - and the rest of the Australian law enforcement - probably didn't expect were for copycats to emerge so quickly.
Yes, it appears that grocery store produce isn't yet safe in Australia - and this time, it looks as if strawberries aren't the only fruit under threat. Australian police out in Central Coast say that a customer at the Coles grocery store bought a mango, and inside that mango was a sewing needle, similar to the ones found in strawberries.
With the last incident occurring in a Woolworths - who have since decided to remove all needles from the store in order to deter people from contaminating their fruit - it seems this crisis is only getting worse. Coles, for their part in this, have so far declined to remove needles from their shelves, deciding instead to inspect strawberries thoroughly.
"We have worked with our suppliers to implement additional control measures to ensure strawberries are inspected before they are sent to supermarkets. Queensland Health has advised people should cut up strawberries before consuming them," said a Coles spokesperson to news.com.au.
Chief Inspector Nigel Webber said to the Cental Coast Express Advocate that a man had held onto the fruit for two days before discovering the foreign object, and that nobody had gotten hurt from eating it. "Police have seized the needle for forensic examination," Webber said to news outlets. "No persons were injured."
Meanwhile in Northern Queensland, police are also conducting their own investigation into contaminated fruit, after a young girl found another metal object while biting into a banana.
"The details have been referred to the authorities leading the response to this matter, and we’ll consult with them on the next steps," said a spokesperson from Woolworths in Cairns, where the banana was purchased. The banana has seen warnings spring up all over Facebook about further contaminated fruit.
More than 100 cases of fruit contamination in this manner have been reported to police in Australia, although it's believed that a significant number of these are either fake or copycat cases. "What we’ve seen in the state [of New South Wales] we believe is the work of copycats and pranksters, we’ve got to deal with it though, the way we deal with any crime,” Smith added.