Six strawberry brands 'contaminated', as government offers six figure reward

Spiked strawberries have surfaced in Sydney, with a horrified shopper finding needles stuck inside three pieces of the fruit.

Australian authorities are warning its citizens against eating certain brands of strawberries after some have been found to contain hidden sewing needles inside.

Police asked anyone who finds a needle in their strawberries to take the punnet their local station.

"As the products have yet to be forensically examined, it is unknown if the contamination is related to the original Queensland incident or a copycat", NSW police said in a statement late Friday.

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Some Australians have posted photos on social media showing needles they found in their berries. The broadcaster also said wholesale prices have dropped by around half.

The strawberry industry in the state of Queensland is worth around US$93 million (NZ$142 million) annually, and the government there announced this week that it would offer a reward of A$100,000 for anyone with information about the culprit behind the unusual attack on strawberries.

People in possession of the brands in question should refrain from using them and strawberries from other companies "should be cut up" for safe measure, police said in the update, quoting Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr. Jeannette Young.

"With strawberries you need to continue picking them", he told ABC.

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Fruit sold under Berry Obsession, Berry Licious and Donnybrook brands have been affected, while New South Wales police warn fruit sold under the Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries and Oasis brands were inserted with needles by a possible copycat.

On Thursday, the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association said it had "reason to suspect" a former employee was responsible but police are still investigating.

Health officials have urged people purchasing the fruit to be cautious.

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