Sewing needles removed from Woolies' shelves amid strawberry scare

NSW boy arrested for inserting needles in strawberries as prank

NSW boy arrested for inserting needles in strawberries as prank

The crisis, which has seen farmers dump unwanted fruits by the truckload and Woolworths this morning pull all sewing needles from their shelves, has been condemned by Australia's leaders.

"We've taken the precautionary step of temporarily removing sewing needles from sale in our stores", a Woolworths spokesperson confirmed to ABC News via email on Thursday. "The safety of our customers is our top priority", a Woolworths spokeswoman told AAP.

On Wednesday, an Australian government minister said at least 100 reports had been received of needles in fruit.

NSW State Crime Command acting commander Stuart Smith said a young person had admitted to a prank, including putting needles in strawberries, and will be dealt with under the youth cautioning system.

Braetop Berries strawberry farmer Aidan Young holds a strawberry as he poses amid strawberries he will destroy following a nationwide needle scare, on his farm in the Glass House Mountains in Queensland on September 20, 2018.

Consumers in Queensland were the first to report finding needles embedded inside strawberries.

Tasmanians are being urged to cut up all fruit before eating after metal was found in a local apple in an apparent copycat of interstate needle contamination.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has lashed out at the "grubs" who are responsible for the contamination crisis, announcing new penalties and an increase in jail time for offenders.

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Australia's Department of Health ordered a review into the handling of strawberries after fruit containing sewing needles was found in supermarkets across the country.

"I'm just focused on making sure no idiot goes into a supermarket this weekend and does something ridiculous", Morrison told reporters.

Are you still buying strawberries?

The pin has been seized by detectives who say they are co-operating with other jurisdictions in investigating the incident. It's not amusing. You're putting the livelihoods of hard-working Australians at risk.

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.

He has called on parliament to raise the sentence for those caught contaminating fruit from 10 to 15 years in jail.

'It is beyond belief that anybody would deliberately sabotage fruit to try and harm people in the process, harm our hardworking fruit farmers and the industry, ' she told parliament.

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