Sewing needles have been found inside strawberries sold at Woolworths.
Sewing needles have been found inside strawberries sold at Woolworths. Facebook/Queensland Strawberries

Packed strawberries sold in Woolworths have been recalled after sewing needles were found in them. The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association suspects a disgruntled former employee deliberately inserted needles in a number of strawberries sold across three states.

There have been only two affected brands known so far, Berry Licious and Berry Obsessions, which were sold in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. Queensland Health have warned consumers to dispose the brands or return them to the Woolworths store they bought it from.

There were incidents reported of consumers finding needles in the strawberries. A Facebook user have previously warned consumers about buying Berry Obsession strawberries because his friend, who purchased a pack of it from Woolworths at the Strathpine Centre in Brisbane, had swallowed half a sewing needle. They brought the friend to the hospital after he started experiencing severe abdominal pain.

According to Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young, the contaminated brands came from a farm in Queensland and were sold to Woolworths. However, they could also have been distributed to other stores. Her advice to consumers is to dispose the strawberries they bought. Strawberries bought from Sep. 13 are safe, though, as well as brands other than Berry Licious and Berry Obsession.

The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association said the culprit was likely a disgruntled ex-employee. It is currently waiting on more information about the matter from Queensland Police.

The association’s industry development officer, Jennifer Rowling, said consumers who were still concerned about their bought strawberries should “chop them in half” just to be sure, according to the ABC.

“It’s quite devastating for our growers — they’re really upset about it obviously, because this is their livelihood, and someone has taken it upon themselves to do something really nasty,” Rowling said. “As far as we’re concerned, our growers take pride in what they produce.”

Queensland Police Service is currently investigating. Victoria Police’s Fraud and Extortion Squad detectives are also assisting.