Woman Caught Putting Needle Into Banana In Kids Free Fruit Section

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The Queensland state government has offered a A$100,000 (£55,000; $72,000) reward for information.

Police have said that six brands of strawberries in Australia are believed to be contaminated with needles and pins, prompting warnings from authorities to slice the fruit before eating.

Mr Michael said he usually exported 50 per cent of his product out of the state, with the rest sold locally.

"Police are continuing to liaise with retailers to ensure that all stock from the affected date has been removed from sale".

Strawberry Growers Association President Neil Handasyde said the incident could be devastating for the industry at a time when fruit was at its best during peak season.

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Fears of a copycat fruit saboteur emerged on Monday after police reported that a woman was caught inserting a needle into a banana in a Queensland supermarket.

It's not totally clear whether the incidents are all connected, or whether some are copycats.

People across Australia have been finding small sewing needles hidden inside their store-bought strawberries.

A man was treated in hospital after reportedly biting into a strawberry and swallowing half a needle. In New Zealand two major grocers, Woolworths NZ and Foodstuffs have halted the distribution of Australian strawberries.

Adelaide-based The Advertiser reported that a spokesman for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk later clarified a person with a mental health issue had put the object in the banana.

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Amid the contamination, the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association on Wednesday said they suspected that the culprit was possibly a "disgruntled" former employee.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has also ordered the national food safety watchdog to assess Queensland's handling of strawberry contamination.

Affected brands include Berry Obsession, Berry Licious, Love Berry, Donnybrook Berries, Delightful Strawberries and Oasis. For example, according to ABC, on Saturday a 7-year-old girl in South Australia bit into a strawberry that had a needle in it.

Farmers are pleading with consumers no to let this act of "food terrorism" damage the industry, and have urged people to continue buying berries and cut them up before eating as a precaution.

"We believe it is not happening at the farm level now, for it to be so widespread, across so many sites", he said. "It is a very, very broad picture and we can't speculate in any way, shape or form", said Terry Lawrence, Queensland acting chief superintendent.

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