Needle found in strawberry punnet in south island New Zealand supermarket

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A needle was found inside a punnet of strawberries on sale in a New Zealand supermarket, the second such incident in recent months.

The supermarket owner Garry Sheed said he had since taken all strawberries off the shelves but would not comment on whether the punnet was from Australia or New Zealand.

The strawberries were bought at a Fresh Choice supermarket in Geraldine, a town on the South Island.

It comes after a nationwide scare in Australia which saw almost 200 reports of needle-contaminated strawberries.

An Australian woman accused of carrying out the act in “spite” has since been arrested.

It is not clear if the strawberry punnet, which was bought on Saturday morning, was domestic to New Zealand or imported from Australia.

A Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) spokesperson told news outlet Newshub.

However, the store has removed all strawberries from its shelves as a “precautionary measure”.

MPI say the matter has been referred to the police, adding that they were currently conducting an investigation.

This is the latest incident to take place in New Zealand since a needle was found in a punnet of Australia-imported strawberries earlier in September

New Zealand’s two largest food distributors – Countdown and Foodstuffs – said then they had stopped importing Australian strawberries due to the scare.

The nationwide scare in Australia saw hundreds of punnets of strawberries pulled from shelves.

But some reports turned out to be hoaxes and others are thought to be copycat cases or social media stunts.

However, Australian woman My Ut Trinh who has been accused of putting needles inside strawberries, was arrested earlier this month.

Ms Trinh, who worked at a supervisor at a strawberry farm north of Brisbane, is alleged to have been motivated by spite. She faces up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.

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