Young boy admits putting needles into strawberries

  • Young boy admits putting needles into strawberries

Young boy admits putting needles into strawberries

SUPERMARKET giant Woolworths has taken the extraordinary step of withdrawing sewing needles from its shelves nationally following the fruit tampering crisis. The safety of our customers is our top priority, ' a Woolworths spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia.

On Wednesday, an Australian government minister said at least 100 reports had been received of needles in fruit.

"Obviously in the last few days we found a young person has admitted to a prank, including putting needles in strawberries, and he'll be dealt with under the youth cautioning system", he said.

At least 13 people have gone public about finding needles in their strawberries since a man was rushed to hospital on September 9.

Two people have spent time at a hospital after accidentally eating one of the needles.

Australian police said the contaminated fruit appeared to have originated at a Queensland-based supplier.

Under the new laws, which Labor is expected to support, the maximum penalties for those convicted of tampering with fruit would increase from 10 to 15 years.

"I'm just focused on making sure no idiot goes into a supermarket this weekend and does something ridiculous", Mr Morrison told reporters in Royalla in NSW.

One young boy has been arrested in NSW in relation to the crisis, however police on Wednesday described it as behaviour that "could be called a prank".

Police said the boy, who has not been named, confessed to the gag as investigations continue over deliberate fruit contamination.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Scott Morrison is moving to rush harsher penalties through parliament that could see "food terrorists" face 15 years in prison as the strawberry industry is brought to its knees.

Are you still buying strawberries?

Under Section 13 of the Food Act 1983, any party involved in importing, distributing, storing or selling food containing toxic, damaging or harmful to health shall be liable to a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or a maximum imprisonment of 10 years or both, upon conviction.

"It's not amusing, putting the livelihoods of hard-working Australians at risk", the prime minister told reporters in Canberra.

The governments of Western Australia, New South Wales, and Queensland are all offering a reward of 100,000 Australian dollars, or $72,000, for information.

'It is beyond belief that anybody would deliberately sabotage fruit to try and harm people in the process, harm our hardworking fruit farmers and the industry, ' she told parliament.