Australians told to chop strawberries as police investigate needles found in fruit

Empty shelves normally stocked with strawberry punnets are seen at a Coles Supermarket in Brisbane

The Berry Obsession, Berry Licious, Donnybrook Berries, Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries and Oasis brands of strawberries are believed to be affected, according to the police, who said the contaminated fruit appeared to have originated at a Queensland-based supplier.

Despite the nation-wide fear, strawberry farmers have asked consumers to still purchase strawberries but chop them up the first.

The ABC said Saturday wholesale prices had fallen by half to 50 Australian cents per punnet, below the cost of production.

A thin piece of metal seen among a punnet of strawberries.

Overnight, it was announced that Coles and Aldi have pulled strawberries from supermarket shelves across New South Wales, after a customer returned a tainted punnet to the Engadine Coles in Sydney's south.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has ordered the national food safety watchdog to assess the state's handling of strawberry contamination.

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The recall has since been expanded to include six brands after police received more complaints about needles in strawberries.

Queensland Health confirmed to ten daily it was investigating three brands, "Berry Obsession", "Berry Licious", and "Donnybrook Berries", after seven "credible" cases of contamination.

Australia's industry development officer Jennifer Rowling said: "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".

"This is a very vicious crime and it's a general attack on the public, and it's also an attack on a specific industry", he told reporters on Sunday.

Empty shelves at a Coles Supermarket in Brisbane on Friday.

The BBC and ABC Australia report that sewing needles have been found embedded in strawberries, from six different brands, that came out of supermarkets in Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria, per NSW police. "Otherwise, make sure you chop before you chomp".

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