Man reportedly eats strawberry with needle inside, police confirm 4 'contamination' incidents

Aussies need to dice up their strawberries carefully

A health warning to throw out or cut up strawberries remains in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia as authorities hunt those responsible.

Contaminated punnets have been found across the country, in supermarkets in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.

Among the reports cited by the BBC are a 9-year-old boy who's said to have bit into a strawberry with a needle (he didn't swallow it) and a 21-year-old man who reportedly went to the ER after he ingested half a needle and experienced "severe abdominal pain".

Officers from the Sutherland Police Area Command were notified on Friday about the unsafe punnet of Delightful Strawberries, and seized it for their inquiries into what appears to be sabotage with a nationwide range.

Coles issued a statement today saying it had already removed Donnybrook strawberries as requested by Queensland Health, but now it would remove all brands of Queensland grown strawberries for the time being.

Several brands of strawberries have been withdrawn.

"At this stage, please cut them up and just look to make sure they haven't been contaminated", she said.

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This week, a NSW mother discovered three pins hidden inside a punnet and posted images to Facebook.

Six brands of strawberries are now believed to be affected by needle and pin contamination according to police, including Donnybrook Berries, Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries, Oasis brands, Berry Obsession and Berry Licious.

"The safety of our customers is our priority and anyone concerned about their health should seek medical advice".

The Donnybrook supplier owns three farms in south-east Queensland and supplies to both Coles and Woolworths.

Queensland Police acting detective chief superintendent Terry Lawrence told reporters on Thursday afternoon that a Coles employee in Queensland town of Gatton bought a punnet of strawberries and found a small silver rod inside. "Regretfully, preventing random acts of extremism, sabotage and simple maliciousness from people with a grudge appears to be an increasing challenge across our society".

Officials said it is still safe to buy strawberries but consumers should cut them up before eating them.

NSW Police are also urging anyone who has purchased contaminated product to take the punnet to their local police station immediately for triage and forensic examination.

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