Wellington: A needle has been found in a strawberry in New Zealand, police said Monday, the second incident to hit the country two months after a contamination crisis erupted in Australia.
The needle was found in a punnet sold in the small South Island town of Geraldine over the weekend, a New Zealand police spokesman said. The supermarket owner Garry Sheed said he had since taken all strawberries off the shelves but would not comment on whether the punnet was from Australia or New Zealand.
This is the second such incident in New Zealand since the scare was sparked in September, when more than 200 reported incidents of needles hidden in strawberries were reported in Australia. Some of those cases were found to be hoaxes or false complaints.
A 50-year-old woman who worked at one of the strawberry farms where the tampered produce was grown has since been arrested in Queensland and charged with contaminating goods.
The New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) said the person who found the needle in Geraldine was not harmed. “The matter has been referred to the police who are leading the criminal investigation,” a ministry spokesman told reporters.
“At this stage, MPI does not have any reason to believe this is more widespread than the single discovery. However, as a precautionary measure the store has removed strawberries from shelves.”