Supermarket chain removes Australian strawberries after needles found

New Zealand supermarket withdraws Australian strawberry brand over needles

An Australian strawberry brand has been pulled from shelves in New Zealand after needles were found in a packet sold in a supermarket.

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

New Zealand police said the customer who had bought the strawberries had discovered the needles before any were eaten and no one had been injured.

The Choice brand of strawberries was sold nationwide last week.

Countdown Supermarket said that the brand had been removed from their stores and encouraged the public to return them to their stores for a full refund.

The strawberries affected by this withdrawal have not previously had any issues of this nature reported and had not been withdrawn from sale in Australia, the release said.

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A contaminated strawberry found in Australia earlier this month.

Most are thought to be pranks or jokes on social media, but at least two minors have been questioned by police for carrying out hoaxes.

The company urged NZ residents to cut up strawberries before eating them, echoing similar advice in Australia.

The fruit scare has been given a national and worldwide profile by new Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has addressed it publicly several times in the last few days.

Authorities have committed AUS$1 million to assist struggling growers cope with the crisis, while Queensland has offered a AUS$100,000 reward for any information that leads to an the arrest of someone responsible for fruit tampering.

After an initial drop in sales and thousands of tonnes of fresh strawberries destroyed or dumped by producers after ongoing recalls, many farms in Queensland and WA reported customers turning up to the farm gate to hand-pick their own strawberries. The government has rushed through tough new penalties for anyone caught contaminating food.

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