An Australian strawberry grower has posted heartbreaking video of truckloads of her family's strawberries being dumped.
The family of one grower has shared the heartbreak of having to dump truckloads of strawberries.
Source: Donnybrook Berries/Facebook
Stephanie Chheang posted the video of her family's crop being dumped as a result of needles being found in punnets across Australia, which has forced a complete recall of product.
It also means growers have nowhere to sell their picked and ready fresh fruit.
"This here is a video of our strawberries being dumped, this here is worth more then you could ever imagine and within 3 days we lost it all.
"My mum, Leena Lee Cufari and my step dad has worked years to build the empire they're sitting on now, they put all their money and effort in to build such a successful business.
"They work hard to make the money for our family and to have these selfish individuals destroy it is just so upsetting.
"My mum works day through to the night, controlling the shed and her 250 employees, making sure her strawberries are packed to perfection.
"This will not stop my family from doing what they do best, if anything they’re going to do better.
"I thank everyone who supports us and all the other farmers who were affected by this horrible issue. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts."
Queensland strawberry farmer installs metal detector
Meanwhile, a Queensland strawberry farmer will install metal detectors to check his produce as the industry deals with the fallout from the discovery of sewing needles in punnets of the fruit.
Glass House Mountains farmer Leonard Smith said the safety measure would cost him about $30,000, but would hopefully get the rest of this season's fruit back on supermarket shelves.
However, he said the detectors wouldn't work if the contamination was occurring offsite.
Mr Smith's farm was forced to burn off 500,000 unsellable plants at the weekend as it was cheaper to destroy them than pick them.
"I need to get them in service in weeks so I can pay some debt off so I don't have to have some uncomfortable conversations," Mr Smith told The Courier-Mail.
He said other growers were being forced to do the same, with others cutting back on staff in the wake of the nationwide strawberry contamination.
One farmer from the Atherton Tablelands says he has had to lay off 15 employees while his business tries to bounce back.
But he says locals in the region are rallying to help farmers by buying fruit at the farm gate.
"Since it started the public support here at the farm is brilliant. They've gone out of their way to come up and actually buy here," he told ABC radio.
Needles have been found in strawberries in all six states, with New Zealand announcing this week it would pull the Australian-grown fruit from its supermarket shelves.
A health warning to throw out or cut up strawberries remains in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia.
Queensland Strawberry Growers Association vice president Adrian Schultz said "commercial terrorism" was bringing an industry to its knees.
Queensland Police's investigation into the contamination was further complicated when a 62-year-old woman was caught sticking a needle into a banana in a shop in Mackay, in an apparent copycat act.
The woman, who is understood to have mental health issues, was given a warning and referred to appropriate support services.
"The community is reminded that contaminating food is treated as a serious offence and a threat to public safety," a police spokesperson said.
"All reported incidents will be investigated thoroughly."