The Aventina

Australian Fruit Scare Reaches New Zealand

Jacky Zeng

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The strawberry contamination scare that struck Australia has now spread to all six of the Australian states.

The recent fruit crisis, which has caused supermarkets to recall brands, started when a group of images appeared online of strawberries that appeared to have needles inside them.

Although no injuries have been reported yet, the crisis has forced farmers to get rid of tonnes of strawberries. This will damage sales in the industry, which is worth about $130m a year.

The incident has now spread to supermarket shelves and has spread across Australia to New Zealand as producers turn to metal detectors. In addition, the Australian government has launched an investigation to restore public confidence in the popular fruit. The government of Queensland state, where the contamination scare first started off last week, offered a 100,000 Australian dollar (roughly $72,000) reward for information on the person or group who tampered with the fruit.

Recalls have been issued from these six brands — Donnybrook Berries, Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries, Oasis, Berry Obsession, and Berry Licious.

Now both of New Zealand’s major food distributors, Foodstuffs and Countdown, announced on Monday that they are taking Australian strawberries off their shelves. Queensland Strawberry Growers Association vice president Adrian Schultz said: “what had started as a single act of commercial terrorism” had brought a multimillion-dollar industry to its knees”. Major Australian supermarket chains such as Aldi and Coles have pulled all strawberries from their locations across Australia.

A man in the town of York reported to police that he found a needle in a sink after washing strawberries. Another report came out when a 7-year-old girl from a Southern Australian state found a needle in a Western Australia-grown strawberry on Saturday. Strawberry prices have already dropped around the country to a mere 60 to 50 cents a pack, with prices in Western Australia now below the cost of production, many farmers even question the need to work.

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Australian Fruit Scare Reaches New Zealand