Consumers urge to cut strawberries in half in the last warning

<pre><pre>Consumers urge to cut strawberries in half in the last warning

Queensland Health has issued a new warning that says that while it is safe to buy strawberries, consumers should cut them before consuming them.

In the latest statement, consumers have once again been advised to get rid of Berry Obsession and Berry Licious strawberries. These brands have now been eliminated from the sale.

This comes after the Queensland strawberry growers, who are already struggling with low prices, implore customers to keep their product after the sewing needles were discovered in the retail stocks of the fruit.

A man posted a picture of the needle he found in a strawberry basket.

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Queensland police on Thursday confirmed a fourth case of needles discovered in the berries of a Sunshine Coast supplier.

A child in Gladstone ended up with a needle in his mouth on Tuesday after bringing strawberries to school.

Angela Stevenson says she was cutting fruit for her baby when she found a needle embedded in a berry. Upon realizing that his son had strawberries in his lunch box, he immediately called his school.

It was not five minutes later when they called again and said it was too late, that I had actually bitten him, "he told ABC radio.

"Fortunately, he took it out of his mouth and told the teacher."

Queensland police and Australian border force officials inspected the farm in Wamuran, north of Brisbane, on Thursday, where the contaminated berries came from while searching for the culprit.

An investigation is also being carried out after an employee at a Coles supermarket in Gatton discovered a small metal rod on strawberries in a plastic basket on Thursday.

It is suspected that the incident is an attempt at imitation.

Sunshine Coast producer Adrian Schultz said fear of pollution was the last thing the industry needed.

"Our main concern is some kind of imitation event that could aggravate the situation," Schultz told AAP.

"It seems to be an isolated incident so far … it's the perception that people have that concern."

The police are investigating three cases of sewing needles embedded in strawberries.

With only a few weeks in the Queensland season, Schultz implored consumers to continue buying their products.

"We could finish the weekend," he said.

"I know that the farmers who are still on the way will appreciate the support of the public."

So far four contaminated baskets have been found, two in Queensland and two in Victoria.

The Strawberry Growers Association of Queensland says a disgruntled farmer may be responsible, since the two affected brands, Berry Obsession and Berrylicious, came from the same farm.

But the police doubt that theory.

"We do not agree with that at this particular time," said interim Queensland superintendent Terry Lawrence.

"We are not going to go into speculation, we keep a very open mind as to where this may have happened somewhere between the actual growth of the strawberry until the completion of the production line and going even further to the distribution and going to the shelves. "

The affected brands have been withdrawn from the sale.

Health authorities urge people to cut strawberries to make sure they are safe to eat and the police want anyone who finds a needle to contact them.