A former disgruntled employee has been accused of deliberately planting sewing needles in strawberries while thousands of baskets are removed from the market and a man recovers in hospital.
Consumers were urged to throw away strawberries purchased last week in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria after needles were found inside the fruit.
Industrial Development Officer Jennifer Rowling of the Strawberry Growers Association of Queensland issued a statement on Wednesday about the company's suspicions.
"At this time, the Strawberry Growers Association of Queensland has reason to suspect that a disgruntled former employee may have orchestrated the occurrence, where sewing needles were found in several strawberries in Queensland and Victoria," the statement said. .
& # 39; As far as we know, two labels, Berry Licious and Berry Obsession are the only lines affected.
"We will update the Australian public as the news becomes available to us."
A man has posted an image of a sewing needle protruding from a strawberry, claiming that his friend had to be taken to the emergency room after swallowing another on Sunday afternoon
Health officials and police said Wednesday that the needles were hidden in at least three strawberry baskets supplied to Woolworths from a farm in southeastern Queensland.
Authorities are investigating the contamination after a man reported swallowing a strawberry with a needle on Sunday.
Needles have been found in packages at two Woolworths stores in Victoria and another in Queensland with an urgent recall in progress.
The farm where the strawberries were obtained is sold to stores in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
Joshua Gane was driving with his friend, Haoni van Dorp, on Sunday afternoon, when they entered the Strathpine Center Woolworths, about 20 km north of Brisbane.
When buying a basket of strawberries, the two men left the supermarket and continued driving.
Shortly thereafter, Van Dorp says he bit one and swallowed half of a sewing needle, before the pair found another.
Haoni van Dorp (pictured) bit one of the strawberries and swallowed half of a sewing needle
The police believe that the needles may have been deliberately planted with the perpetrator wanting to cause damage.
Gane published Facebook's odyssey, along with an image showing a metal pin protruding from a strawberry.
He said they disassembled the rest of the strawberries and found another pin.
He said his friend had to be taken to the emergency room with "severe pain in the abdomen."
The photos on Facebook show a metal pin protruding from the strawberry, but the men are not sure how it got there.
Gane said the store manager contacted him after the incident and told him they suspected a dirty game.
He wrote that it was not clear who planted the needle, but said that the police and health and safety officials were called.
The Queensland police have started an investigation into the contamination of affected strawberry brands: Berry Obsession and Berry Licious.
Authorities are interacting with retailers to ensure that all stocks are removed from the sale to avoid additional incidents.
He says that after swallowing the needle, they disarmed the rest of the berries and found another
Queensland health chief, Dr. Jeannette Young, said that anyone else who bought the strawberry brands without signs of tampering should return them to the store or throw them away.
"Although it is expected that the berries harvested early last week are not usable, many people freeze the fruit for later use," he said.
& # 39; If you have doubts, simply discard them.
She said any strawberry purchased from September 13 is safe and said that this incident does not mean you stop eating strawberries.
The strawberries you're sure are not the Berry Licious and Berry Obsession brands, they're safe.
& # 39; If you think you have eaten a needle, we recommend you talk to your doctor or call 13 HEALTH.
"There is no reason to stop eating strawberries, we just have to be aware of this incident."
A spokesman for Woolworths said the berry brand had been "temporarily removed" from the shelves after the two men bought their basket from the Strathpine Center Woolworths.
A spokesman for Woolworths said the brand "Berry Obsessions" has been temporarily withdrawn & # 39; from the shelves wherever they are supplied.
"Woolworths takes food safety very seriously and we are investigating these claims with our supplier," they said in a statement.
"We are working closely with the authorities while they investigate this matter.
"We have removed the Berry Obsession and Berrylicious strawberries from the sale while this incident is being investigated."