Disgruntled ex-employee blamed for sewing needles found in strawberries

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Earlier this week news broke of the contamination, believed to have originated at a Queensland-based supplier, after a Brisbane man claimed he had found several small metal needles inside strawberries from a Woolworths store.

Hoani Hearne, 21, was rushed to the hospital Sunday with "severe abdominal pains", according to a friend, Joshua Gane, who posted about the incident on Facebook.

Donnybrook operates three farms on the Sunshine Coast but distributes strawberries throughout Australia, including to Coles.

Acting Detective Chief Superintendent Terry Lawrence said identical needles had been found in the Donnybrook punnets and added "another whim" to the investigation.

An update on the investigation was released amid what authorities said was thought to be a "copycat incident" and provided a photo in relation to it.

In case you missed the news, there have been seven confirmed cases now of strawberries with needles found in them.

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"At this time, (we) have reason to suspect that a disgruntled ex-employee may have orchestrated the occurrence, wherein sewing needles were found in a number of strawberries", the association's Jennifer Rowling said.

It's unclear if the Delightful Strawberries brand comes from the same farm or a different region.

Coles said they had been in contact with Ms Faugeras.

"Any strawberries bought from 13 September are safe and any strawberries that you are certain are not the brands Berry Licious and Berry Obsession are safe", Dr Young said.

"It's quite safe to buy them but just cut them up and check there isn't anything in there that shouldn't be in there", she said.

The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association said it appears the punnets of strawberries were interfered with between the time they were packed and the time they were purchased.

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While the brands behind the initial incident were taken from shelves, authorities said the affected punnets would have expired, but people should check their fridges and freezers for stored strawberries and dispose of them.

"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.

Police said a Coles employee had discovered the silver rod in a punnet of strawberries they had purchased at work. "We're keeping a very open mind as to where this may have occurred". "It makes it hard because you might need to dispose of them earlier, but just cut them up for safety's sake".

One woman wrote on the post: "Sent my 7 year old to school with this brand strawberries this morning".

Do you know anyone who has found needles in their strawberries?

You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers, a registered charity and community volunteer organisation, by calling 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppersqld.com.au 24hrs per day.

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