“This is a very vicious crime and it’s a general attack on the public,” said Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt.
The Canberra government ordered an investigation this week into the strawberry cases. Needles have so far been found in strawberries in six of Australia’s nine states and territories.
Strawberries have a complicated supply chain and so far, Queensland police say the investigation has been slow. It’s unknown if the strawberry sabotage, which affected multiple brands, is a coordinated effort or the work of copycats. Two states have offered rewards of up to $72,000 for information.
The Berry Obsession, Berry Licious, Donnybrook, Love Berry, Delightful and Oasis brand strawberries have all been affected.
Australia’s $130 million strawberry industry has taken a hit as products are pulled from shelves and prices plummet. Some Australians are getting creative, crushing strawberries into jam to continue to support the industry.