Supermarket chain removes Australianstrawberries after needles found

Bundaberg residents chow down on fruit at a strawberry festival to get behind farmers during the ongoing crisis. Source 7 NewsMore

The Australian scare over needles found in strawberries has spread to New Zealand after needles were found in a punnet of the fruit in an Auckland supermarket.

It is urging NZ residents to cut up strawberries before eating them.

Maintaining that no injuries or illness caused by contaminated fruit have been reported in New Zealand, Countdown also recommended that any Choice brand fruit is cut up prior to consumption.

Countdown has pulled all the brand of strawberries from its shelves, as well as from FreshChoice and SuperValue last week.

Foodstuffs, which operates Four Square, New World and Pak'nSave, said last week that it would halt the distribution of Australian strawberries in New Zealand.

The hunt for those sabotaging strawberries with needles has gone trans-Tasman with the first report of a contaminated punnet in New Zealand.

It added that the brand of strawberries affected by this withdrawal "have not previously had any issues of this nature reported and had not been withdrawn from sale in Australia".

Police are taking this report seriously and are investigating with the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Mr O'Connor said he was looking into whether Australian strawberries had undergone extra scrutiny in recent weeks.

On Thursday, sewing needles were taken off the shelves at a major Australian supermarket chain amid a national panic over sharp objects being found inside strawberries and other fruit.

"We hope that it would not be a New Zealander doing a copycat. these will be the things that will be discovered", he said.

Police encourage anyone who finds anything suspicious in their food to contact authorities immediately.

"Customers can return any Choice brand of strawberries they may have at home to Countdown for peace of mind and a full refund".

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