The strawberry contamination saga that rocked Australia in September is still not over, after a needle was found inside fruit purchased from a supermarket on Saturday.
The needle was discovered in a strawberry punnet purchased from a supermarket in Geraldine, in the Canterbury Region in the South Island of New Zealand. Police are investigating the matter, a police spokeswoman said.
The needle that started the whole thing was found in a punnet from Queensland's Berrylicious/Berry Obsession farm. There, My Ut Trinh, known as Judy, was arrested earlier this month after a two-month police investigation allegedly linked her DNA to the first needle discovered in Australian strawberries. Ms Trinh operates a Caboolture labour hire company, which provided staff to the farm. She has been charged with seven counts of contamination of goods -between September 2 to 5- with intent to cause economic loss. If found guilty, Trinh, could face 10 years in jail.
Following the first incident, a further 230 cases were reported nationwide, impacting 68 strawberry brands. Forty-nine brands were Queensland-based. In Queensland, 77 incidents were reported. Of those, 15 were believed to be a hoax or a false complaint.
Dailymail.co.uk already reported on PM Scott Morrison announcing a maximum of 15 years' jail for anyone found guilty of contaminating food. “It's not a joke, it's not funny. You are putting the livelihoods of hard-working Australians at risk, and you are scaring children... and you're a coward and a grub,” he said.
This weekend there was a needle found as well in a capsicum bought at Tauranga Countdown. Will Taylor found it in a red capsicum purchased from Countdown Bureta Park. Taylor contacted the store immediately and informed them.
A Countdown spokeswoman said the store has referred the matter to the New Zealand police who will investigate. "We take food safety incredibly seriously and will work closely with both the NZ Police and MPI to cooperate fully with their investigation," she said.