- People in Australia have started finding needles hidden in strawberries, in what has become a widespread phenomenon.
- A banana and an apple have now also been found with needles in them, police said on Tuesday, spreading panic even further.
- Two men went to hospital with abdominal pain after swallowing needles hidden in strawberries
Police in Australia say they have found sewing needles hidden inside an apple and a banana, widening a crisis which began with strawberries being found with hidden needles inside.
Officers say they have found more than 25 instances of fruit with needles concealed inside, across all six states of Australia.
According to news.com.au, hidden needles were found in a banana and an apple which were bought in different district of Sydney.
So far two people who accidentally ate the needles have reported to hospital, though none appear to have been badly injured.
This photo, published by Sky News Australia, shows a needle that was found in a box of strawberries:
Sky News Australia/Youtube
People started noticing needles in their strawberries earlier this month after a man in Queensland, northeastern Australia, published a viral post claiming that his friend accidentally swallowed half a sewing needle while eating strawberries, and had to be sent to hospital.
Joshua Gane said on Facebook: "He bites through a strawberry and swallows half a sewing needle. We then checked the other strawberries and found another sewing needle lodged inside one of them.
"We are now at the ER [emergency room] because he subsequently started experiencing severe abdominal pain."
Hoani Hearne, a 21-year-old in Queensland, was taken to hospital after swallowing part of a needle and developing severe abdominal pain on September 9, according to The Courier Mail.
"I bit straight in — kneejerk reaction was to swallow — and yeah, it wasn't a pleasant surprise," Hearne told the local Nine News TV network, as cited by The Courier Mail.
As of Tuesday, all six Australian states have found cases and News.com.au reported that the total number of fruit and needle incidents is at 26 as of Tuesday evening.
On Monday a man in York, Western Australia — the other side of the country form Queensland — found a needle while washing his strawberries, as reported by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
On Tuesday, police said they had received reports of more needles being discovered in strawberries in other Perth suburbs like Kelmscott, Spearwood and Bull Creek, News.com.au said.
Police still have no idea who did it
It remains unclear how the needles managed to get into the store-bought strawberries, and at which stage of the production process the fruits were contaminated.
The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association said last Thursday that the perpetrator could be one of its disgruntled former employees, according to The Australian.
However, with the contamination found across other states in Australia, authorities are no longer sure.
Queensland police are still working to find the perpetrators, and are "keeping a very open mind" as they interview more than 100 people to find suspects, according to Business Insider Australia.
The Queensland state government is also offering AU$100,000 (US$72,000) for information, News.com.au reported.
Adrian Schultz, the vice-president of the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association lashed out at the "commercial terrorism," and warned that it could effect the entire fruit industry.
Schultz said, according to News.com.au: "I'm angry for all the associated people, it's the farmers, the people who supply them, the packaging people, the truckies with families to support, who suddenly lose their jobs … it's far-reaching."
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