Australians warned to cut up strawberries after people report finding needles inside

Several brands grown in Queensland have been withdrawn from supermarkets, and there have been multiple reports of other cases in the states of New South Wales and Victoria.

On Thursday, Queensland police announced they were also investigating a suspected copycat incident after a metal rod was discovered on top of strawberries inside a plastic punnet at Coles in Gatton.

"This is putting families' lives at risk and it's also putting the strawberry industry at risk", she said.

Until investigators have a better idea where the needles are coming from, they recommend all strawberries be cut or disposed of.

One man was taken to hospital after eating a strawberry with a needle inside.

The strawberry industry in the state of Queensland is worth around US$93 million (NZ$142 million) annually, and the government there announced this week that it would offer a reward of A$100,000 for anyone with information about the culprit behind the odd attack on strawberries.

An urgent recall was originally issued on Wednesday following the discovery of needles planted inside the fruit, with Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young advising anyone who has purchased strawberries from the Berry Liscious and Berry Obsession brands to dispose of their fruit immediately. "It is simply unacceptable".

"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", NSW police said in a statement late Friday.

Strawberry prices have dropped around the country.

Palaszczuk, the Queensland premier, told reporters that "those responsible could face up to 10 years' jail, if not more, for the crimes they are committing".

Health officials have urged people purchasing the fruit to be cautious.

"As with all farmers who produce food for our nation, strawberry growers strive to ensure the quality, security and freshness of their produce and these spiteful incidents have been extremely disheartening and troubling", the association said.

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