Australian police on Sunday arrested and charged a 50-year-old woman with contaminating strawberries with needles, the newest chapter in a public health scare that has gripped the rustic since mid-September.
The woman, whose identification has now not but been launched by way of police, faces seven counts of contamination of products, in keeping with a observation launched by way of the Queensland Police Service.
Strawberries containing needles have been first reported in Queensland, the 3rd maximum populous of Australia’s six states, on Sept. 8 after a 21-year-old man who had unwittingly fed on some of the infected berries used to be rushed to the clinic with “severe abdominal pains.”
“Driving up to the coast when Hoani van Dorp bites through a strawberry and swallows half a sewing needle,” Joshua Gane, the sufferer’s good friend, wrote in a Facebook publish on the time. “We then checked the other strawberries and found another sewing needle lodged inside one of them.”
Queensland government notified the general public of the protection possibility on Sept. 12, and studies of needle-filled strawberries cropped up in all the Australian states within the next weeks. Those finding the spiked fruit integrated a 7-year-old woman in southern Australia.
The suspect is because of seem within the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday. She faces as much as 10 years in jail if convicted, officials stated.
The fashionable needle scare induced remembers on six manufacturers: Donnybrook Berries, Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries, Oasis, Berry Obsession and Berry Licious.
Needles have been additionally reportedly present in no less than one mango and no less than one banana, despite the fact that it’s unclear whether or not those have been remoted incidents, in all probability completed by way of a copycat, or in the event that they have been associated with the strawberries scare.
Queensland Strawberry Growers Association vice president Adrian Schultz instructed The Associated Press in September that what had began as a unmarried act of “commercial terrorism” had introduced a multimillion-dollar trade to its knees.
“I’m angry for all the associated people, it’s the farmers, the people who supply them, the packaging people, the truckies with families to support, who suddenly lose their jobs… it’s far-reaching,” Schultz stated.
Officials from the strawberry affiliation stated they “have reason to suspect that a disgruntled ex-employee” of Woolworth, the grocery store the place most of the affected strawberries have been offered, used to be at the back of the contamination.
Queensland police launched few main points of their arrest announcement on Sunday and didn’t speculate on a purpose. Queensland Police Detective Supt. Jon Wacker stated “a significant amount of resources” have been allotted to the case.
“This is a major and unprecedented police investigation with a lot of complexities involved,” Wacker stated in a observation. “While the investigation is far from over, I would like to acknowledge the tireless effort of our investigators as well as members from all other agencies across Australia who played a role.”