Chaos has ensued in Australia after a shopper in Queensland was taken to the hospital after he swallowed a needle that had been hidden inside a strawberry. The discovery caused concern over whether it was an isolated incident or more widespread.
Since then, needles inside strawberry punnets have been discovered in all other states in Australia, and some stores, including Coles and Aldi, have pulled all strawberries from their shelves, as the Inquisitr previously reported. The first instance of the metal objects found in Tasmania was reported just today, one of which was eaten by a 2-year-old.
Many shoppers are refusing to buy strawberries, and farmers have had to dump their crop, losing massive revenue as a result of the unnecessary prank. So far, a total of 25 needles have been discovered inside the fruit.
Unfortunately, it seems that things have not ended with the contamination of strawberries. Business Insider reports that shoppers in New South Wales have also now found needles in other fruit, including an apple and a banana at two separate stores in Sydney. The new discovery has widened the crisis, and police are frantically searching for any answers that could lead them to whoever is putting needles in the fruit.
At this stage, two people have eaten fruit with the needles inside, and although neither was seriously injured, both instances warranted a trip to the hospital.
Strawberries discarded by farmer in Queensland, Australia after the Needle scam. What a waste! pic.twitter.com/VN5kIlAWP4
— Be'Havin! (@WrongDoc) September 19, 2018
At this stage, authorities are unsure if the entire contamination is a result of a single group or copycats popping up across the country to continue spreading the fear. It appears at this stage that all the different brands of strawberries have been affected. Per The Australian, Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty has warned that the perpetrators face up to 10 years in prison.
“The consequences are dire, it is a hazardous action and really it’s an act of treachery against the community of NSW and the nation. You are still causing alarm and anxiety to the public, you are causing economic loss to an industry, you are creating hysteria and making it a perilous adventure just to go and buy some fruit at a supermarket and feed your family.
The panic has also spread beyond the borders of Australia, with New Zealand announcing it will be pulling all of the Aussie-grown fruit from its supermarket shelves.
While warnings have been issued in most of the country to throw out strawberries, many people are calling for Australians to continue supporting the farmers by buying the fruit and simply cutting it up before consuming it.