Australia fruit scare: Needles found in New Zealand strawberries

Why dad who reported needle in daughter's strawberry is being charged

Customers can return any Choice brand of strawberries they may have at home to Countdown for a full refund.

Countdown is in contact with both New Zealand and Australian authorities as they investigate this matter, the supermarket wrote.

A PUNNET of Australian strawberries contaminated with needles has been found in New Zealand in the first such reported case across the Tasman.

The brand is not among those recalled in Australia.

The needles were found in a sample of Choice brand strawberries sold at a Countdown supermarket in Auckland.

The arrest comes as the hunt for those responsible for sticking needles in strawberries continues, and the federal government ramps up penalties for so-called "food terrorists".

Countdown, which owns 181 supermarkets across New Zealand, has urged shoppers to cut up any strawberries already purchased.

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Countdown says there have been no reports of any illness or injury related to this issue in New Zealand, and there is no impact on New Zealand strawberries which are now on the shelves.

This does not affect New Zealand strawberries which are now on our shelves.

Australian strawberries are exported to NZ from April to September and local strawberries began appearing on shelves this week in their place.

On Friday, Queensland police and Queensland Health said the investigation was still focused on just a small number of confirmed reports of needle sabotage, while many other incidents were suspected to be copycat actions.

The Australian government last week raised the maximum prison sentence for fruit tampering from 10 to 15 years, and there is a reward of A$100,000 (£55,000; $72,000) for anyone able to offer information.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said laws would be drafted with the intent to pass them through Parliament this week.

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