Canberrans are being warned about two brands of Queensland strawberries after needles were found in some berries in Queensland and Victoria.
ACT Health says Canberrans who have purchased punnets of fresh Berry Liscious or Berry Obsession brand strawberries should throw them out.
ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Paul Kelly said while there had been no contaminated strawberries reported in the ACT, anyone who had fresh strawberries should check which brand they were.
“Berry Liscious and Berry Obsession are the only brands of concern and the contaminated fruit is no longer available for sale,” Dr Kelly said.
“However if people don’t know what brand of strawberries they have, and they want to be ultra-cautious, then I would advise they throw the strawberries out.
“People who have purchased fresh strawberries and then frozen them without the packaging for later use should be particularly cautious.
“You may not know the brand of strawberries you have purchased. If in doubt, throw them out.”
Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said the contaminated brands came from a farm in south-east Queensland, and were sold to Woolworths, which has pulled the brands from shelves in the ACT, NSW, Queensland and Victoria.
Police are investigating and the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association said it suspected that a disgruntled ex-employee may be responsible.
Facebook user Joshua Gane posted that a friend had gone to hospital after swallowing half a needle in a strawberry from a punnet bought in Brisbane.
“Just posting this as a warning to anyone that has bought strawberries (Berry Obsessions) from Woolworths recently. Driving up to the coast when Hoani van Dorp bites through a strawberry and swallows half a sewing needle. We then checked the other strawberries and found another sewing needle lodged inside one of them. We are now at the ER because he subsequently started experiencing severe abdominal pain.”
Three incidents have been reported to police, one in Queensland and two in Victoria.
ACT Health says that if anyone discovers their fruit is contaminated they should contact the Health Protection Service on 6205 1700.