Australia supermarket bans needles amid strawberry scare

В Австралии задержали подростка подкладывающего иголки в клубнику

В Австралии задержали подростка подкладывающего иголки в клубнику

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday announced urgent and harsh new commonwealth criminal penalties for contaminating food as the ongoing needle crisis brings many Australian farmers to their knees.

Woolworths announced Thursday that it was temporarily removing needles from sale, according to the Reuters news agency.

"The safety of our customers is our top priority", the retailer said, without discussing further the reasons behind its decision.

As they continue to receive daily reports, NSW Police have confirmed they're investigating an incident in West Gosford, where a man has reportedly found a needle in a Mango.

On Wednesday, an Australian government minister said at least 100 reports had been received of needles in fruit.

Victoria is the nation's second biggest strawberry producing state behind Queensland and produced 32,790 tonnes of strawberries in 2016-17, or about 36 per cent of that year's crop.

Needle found in strawberry punnet.

Tasmanians are being urged to cut up all fruit before eating after metal was found in a local apple in an apparent copycat of interstate needle contamination.

On Wednesday, one week after the initial recall of strawberries was issued in Queensland, Australians who are fed up with the impact the scandal is having on farmers and local fruit and veg stores around the country joined a new social media movement to support farmers and to ensure fruit doesn't go to waste.

The Australian government is rushing legislation through parliament to ratchet up the maximum penalties for so-called "food terrorists" from 10 to 15 years behind bars.

"I'm just focused on making sure no idiot goes into a supermarket this weekend and does something ridiculous", the prime minister told reporters in Royalla, NSW.

Are you still buying strawberries?

The acting assistant commissioner said detectives had already arrested one young boy over behaviour that "could be called a prank".

"It's not amusing, putting the livelihoods of hard-working Australians at risk", the prime minister told reporters in Canberra.

The Queensland and NSW governments are offering a reward to catch the culprits.

If the person were an adult, he would be facing a maximum of 10 years in jail in NSW.

"It is beyond belief that anybody would deliberately sabotage fruit to try and harm people in the process, harm our hardworking fruit farmers and the industry", she told parliament.