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Australian woman arrested in strawberry needle scare


The suspect in the Australia needle scare is being driven into the police watch-house in Brisbane, Australia, on Sunday

Police in Queensland, Australia, said they arrested a woman for allegedly contaminating fresh strawberries with sewing needles, injuring at least one man.

Officials charged the 50-year-old woman with seven counts of contaminating goods after a months-long investigation.

There were hundreds of reports of needles found in strawberries starting in September, peak strawberry season in Australia. One man was hospitalized after biting into one and swallowing half a needle.

Police believed some of the incidents were copy cats, and in September arrested a boy who confessed to putting needles in strawberries.

The scare prompted consumers to avoid the fruit and grocery stories to dump stock during peak season.

Queensland Strawberry Growers Association spokeswoman Jennifer Rowling told Australia’s ABC News the contaminations had a “crippling impact” on the country’s strawberry industry.

Amid the scare, the Australian government increased the maximum prison sentence from 10 years to 15 years for fruit tampering.

“It’s not funny, putting the livelihoods of hard-working Australians at risk, and you are scaring children. And you are a coward and a grub,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at the time.



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