Young boy arrested in relation to needles in Australian strawberries

  • 19/09/2018

A young boy has been arrested in relation to the needles found in Australian fruit.

New South Wales police confirmed that the entire crisis, which affected 20 punnets of strawberries, was the work of pranksters and copycats.

Following another incident a week before, where fruit was sabotaged in Queensland, police have also now discovered needles in an apple and a banana.

Police believe there are others behind the incident, and have offered a $100,000 reward for any information that leads to the conviction of fruit contaminators.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told 7 News it was a shocking thing to do, and that they should face maximum sentences.

"It's not a joke. It's not funny. You are putting the livelihoods of hard-working Australians at risk, and you are scaring children... and you're a coward and a grub," he told reporters.

Under new laws, the maximum penalty for food contamination is 10 to 15 years - the same as child pornography and terror financing offences.

As a result of the incident, the fruit industry is in serious crisis as people have stopped buying strawberries altogether due to the possible risk of finding needles or razor blades.

Gavin Scur who owns Pinata Farms in Queensland told The Daily Mail his farm was spending AU$25,000 a day on picking and then dumping strawberries, because he has no buyers.

"We have to harvest it anyway, because as soon as we don't every two or three days, it gets rotten and disease and fruit flies come in and attack the whole crop."

Thirteen people have gone public about finding needles in their strawberries, including one man who was hospitalised.