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Australia offers reward amid mystery strawberry needle scare

AFP  |  Sydney 

An Australian state has offered a large reward for information after needles were found in strawberries sold in supermarkets, in what the described as a "vicious crime".

The issue came to light last week when a man was taken to hospital with stomach pains after eating the fresh produce bought at a supermarket in state.

Since then, people have posted on of other strawberries with small stuck into them.

Several brands grown in have been withdrawn from supermarkets, and there have been multiple reports of other cases in the states of New and

"Whoever is behind this is not just putting families at risk across and the rest of -- they are putting an entire industry at risk," Queensland said Saturday.

Her government is offering a Australian Dollar 100,000 (USD 71,500) reward for any information that leads to the capture and conviction of those responsible.

"I would urge anyone with information that may be relevant to this incident in any way to contact police as soon as possible," she added.

told national broadcaster the contamination of the strawberries -- usually sold in small plastic boxes called punnets -- was done "obviously to injure somebody".

They have yet to reveal possible motives but the Queensland Growers Association said a disgruntled former worker might be responsible.

said Sunday he had ordered the national to assess the handling of the cases, calling the sabotage a "very vicious crime".

The Queensland industry is valued at about Australian Dollar 160 million (USD 114 million).

The said Saturday wholesale prices had fallen by half to 50 Australian cents per punnet, below the cost of production.

Consumers have been urged to cut up their strawberries before eating.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, September 16 2018. 13:25 IST