An Australian state has offered a large reward for information after sewing needles were found in strawberries sold in supermarkets, in what the federal health minister 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 Queensland state.
"Whoever is behind this is not just putting families at risk across Queensland and the rest of Australia -- they are putting an entire industry at risk," Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk 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.
They have yet to reveal possible motives but the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association said a disgruntled former worker might be responsible.
The Queensland strawberry industry is valued at about Australian Dollar 160 million (USD 114 million).
The ABC 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.)