Supermarket halts Australian strawberry sales after needles found
- New Zealand said it was unclear whether the strawberries had been tampered with in Australia or from within.
- “I’m hoping no New Zealander would be such an idiot,” he said, according to the New Zealand Herald newspaper.
- Countdown Supermarket said it was in contact with both New Zealand and Australian authorities, who were investigating the issue.
A supermarket chain pulled a brand of Australian strawberry off its shelves after needles were found in punnets purchased from a store in Auckland.
A scare has gripped neighbouring Australia, where police are investigating more than 100 reports of needles found in fruit during recent weeks.
Needles, first found in the Australian strawberry produced by one supplier in the northern state of Queensland, are now turning up around the country in the berries and other fruits.
New Zealand grocery chain Countdown said in a statement on its website that ‘Choice’ strawberries, which are sourced from the state of Western Australia, would be withdrawn “as a precautionary measure” after needles were found.
It was unclear when the contaminated berries entered New Zealand but last week Australia had said it was using metal detectors to screen all strawberry exports.
New Zealand’s Primary Industries Minister Damien O’Connor on Monday said it was unclear whether the strawberries had been tampered with in Australia or New Zealand.
“I’m hoping no New Zealander would be such an idiot,” he said, according to the New Zealand Herald newspaper, adding that food safety regulators were conducting a “thorough inquiry”.
Countdown said it was in contact with both New Zealand and Australian authorities, who were investigating the issue.
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