The ‘needle in the strawberry saga’ has reached the Manning Valley after several incidents were discovered in Queensland over the past week.
Wingham resident, Chantal Faugeras posted on Facebook claiming that she had found three pins in a punnet of strawberries purchased at Coles in Wingham.
She indicated that she was already aware of the occurrences in Queensland.
It is now believed the contamination may affect six brands of strawberries – “Berry Obsession”, “Berry Licious”, “Love Berry”, “Donnybrook Berries”, “Delightful Strawberries”, and “Oasis”.
These brands are believed to be sold in stores in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, and the Australian Capital Territory.
Chantal posted that she brought strawberries on Wednesday September 12 after her children had put them in the trolley, not noting what brand they were.
She claims the pins where found in the 'Delightful' brand of strawberries.
“My daughter noticed it after biting into the strawberry and felt the pin sticking out so she brought the lot to me and I was mortified after inspecting the strawberry,” Chantal explained.
“I squashed the other strawberries and found two other (pins).
“I briefly heard about the Queensland issue but thought it was Woolworths only.
“My daughter was lucky she didn't swallow it. She had already eaten half of it when she found the pin,” she said.
A spokesperson for Coles has confirmed they are speaking to the customer about the Wingham incident.
“Coles takes the safety of the food we sell seriously and we are working with our suppliers, police and state health regulators to investigate,” the spokesperson said.
“The safety of our customers is our priority and anyone concerned about their health should seek medical advice.
“Queensland Health has warned people should cut up all strawberries before consuming them.”
The matter is being handled by the Queensland Police.
Police are continuing to liaise with retailers to ensure that all stock from the affected date have been removed from sale.
The contamination relates to what appears to be sewing needles and pins inserted in strawberries.
So far, NSW Police Force has received reports of contaminated strawberries purchased at supermarkets at Tweed Heads, Taree, and Wingham.
As the products have yet to be forensically examined, it is unknown if the contamination is related to the original Queensland incident or a copycat.
Police are urging anyone who has purchased contaminated product to take the punnet to their local police station immediately for triage and forensic examination.
Any customer who has purchased strawberries of the potentially impacted brands is urged to cut the fruit before consuming.
If any member of the community is concerned about the integrity of the product they’ve purchased, it may be returned to the point of sale.