Australian needle contamination: Queensland police arrest 50-year-old woman

November 11 , 2018

A 50-year-old woman has been arrested by Queensland Police following a “complex investigation” into the alleged contamination of Australian strawberries in September.

After the discovery of punnets of strawberries contaminated with needles, Queensland authorities notified the public of the safety risk on September 12.

Queensland Police coordinated a national investigative response with multiple government, law enforcement and intelligence agencies, The Brisbane Times reported.

A police taskforce was established with officers from the State Crime Command coordinating the investigation together with detectives in a number of police districts in Queensland.

The woman is expected to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday.

There were at least 100 reported cases of sewing needles or pins being found in strawberries in all six Australian states and in at least six different brands.

There were also isolated cases of metal found in a banana, an apple and a mango, with the government saying many of the cases were thought to be “copycat” or hoaxes.

The unprecedented situation led the Australian government to announce tougher penalties for food tampering, increasing the maximum prison term from 10 years to 15 years.

Related article: Solidarity against strawberry sabotage: Community lifts Aussie grower spirits

 

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