Needles found in strawberries at Auckland Countdown

Needles were found in a punnet of strawberries sourced from Western Australia, which was bought in a Countdown supermarket in Auckland.

Countdown has withdrawn a brand of Australian strawberries from sale as a precautionary measure, and is advising customers to cut up strawberries before consuming them.

The Choice brand of strawberries was sold nationwide last week.

In a press release today Countdown says "we take food safety very seriously and we have withdrawn any remaining Choice strawberries from sale from Countdown, SuperValue and FreshChoice supermarkets while we investigate this with our suppliers.

"Customers can return any Choice brand of strawberries they may have at home to Countdown for peace of mind and a full refund.

"As an extra precaution and following similar advice from public health authorities in Australia, customers should cut up any Australian strawberries before eating them.

"There have been no reports of any illness or injury in New Zealand. 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strawberries affected by this withdrawal have not previously had any issues of this nature reported and had not been withdrawn from sale in Australia."

Countdown is in contact with both New Zealand and Australian authorities as they investigate this matter.

A spokesperson from Foodstuffs NZ told 1 NEWS that Pak'nSave and New World do not stock the brand of strawberries in question.

Foodstuffs NZ say they have already pulled all Australian-sourced strawberries from their shelves.

Police say they have started an investigation with the Ministry for Primary Industries after needles were found in strawberries at an Auckland Countdown.

A police spokesperson told 1 NEWS that police are taking the report seriously and are investigating together with MPI.

They also stated that the person who reported the incident was not harmed as the needles were found before anyone had eaten them.

NSW authorities are investigating more than 20 incidents of needles found in strawberries. Source: Breakfast

The news comes after a spate of similar incidents in Australia led to a young boy being arrested after police say he admitted to putting needles in strawberries.

NSW Acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith said detectives had arrested one young boy over an incident that "could be a prank", 7 NEWS reports.

"Obviously in the last few days we found a young person has admitted to a prank, including putting needles in strawberries, and he’ll be dealt with under the youth cautioning system," the acting assistant commissioner said.

Anyone found guilty of contaminating food could soon face a maximum of 15 years in prison, up from 10 years in Australia.

Countdown says the strawberries came from Western Australia. Source: 1 NEWS


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