Major Australian chain temporarily stops selling needles amid strawberry scare

Young NSW Boy Arrested Over 'Strawberry Prank'

Braetop Berries strawberry farmer Aidan Young holds a strawberry as he poses amid strawberries he will destroy following a nationwide needle scare, on his farm in the Glass House Mountains in Queensland on September 20, 2018.

Imported Australian strawberries are undergoing thorough checks at the country's entry points following the discovery of sewing needles in the fruit.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton also revealed there have now been more than 100 reports of contaminated fruit.

"We've taken the precautionary step of temporarily removing sewing needles from sale in our stores".

But Woolworths said the safety of its customers was its top priority and that pulling sewing needles from its shelves across the country was a safety measure.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced $1 million in assistance to the strawberry industry yesterday, in addition to the $1 million support package from the Queensland government.

Australia's parliament passed legislation on Thursday to increase the maximum prison term to 15 years from 10 years for anyone convicted of tampering with food, in line with offences such as financing terrorism.

NSW police have arrested a young boy for inserting needles into strawberries as a prank.

One man in the state of Western Australia and a girl in South Australia reported finding needles in their strawberries in the past two days, according to police.

Two Chelsea fans attacked in Greece ahead of PAOK game
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If the person were an adult, he would be facing a maximum of 10 years in jail in NSW.

NSW police have announced a $100,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction.

The post comes after shoppers were urged to keep buying and eating strawberries, with defiant Aussies even taking to social media to show they aren't afraid of the needle contamination impacting the country's produce earlier this week.

'It's not a joke, it's not amusing. It's not amusing. You are putting the livelihoods of hardworking Australians at risk and you are scaring children.

'This is a shocking and cowardly thing for this individual and others who have jumped onto the bandwagon here to have engaged in'.

'It is beyond belief that anybody would deliberately sabotage fruit to try and harm people in the process, harm our hardworking fruit farmers and the industry, ' she told parliament.

"This is a disgusting act created to instil fear in consumers and to undermine our agricultural industry".

Andrew Colvin, the commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, also warned people that copycats or people perpetrating hoaxes would also be prosecuted.

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