Probe as Australia strawberries sabotaged with needles

It's a crime so unusual that any motive seems almost inconceivable.

Health officials in Australia are warning citizens to cut up strawberries before eating them after people reported finding needles inside the berries.

At least one person claims to have inadvertently swallowed one.

A Coles customer found pins sticking from the sabotaged fruit after purchasing the punnet from a supermarket in Engadine in Sydney's south on Friday.

Reports out of three Aussie states have strawberry lovers checking their fresh fruit carefully.

The Queensland government is now offering a $100,000 reward for any information that will help police catch those behind the strawberry needle sabotage scandal.

On Thursday, Queensland police announced they were also investigating a suspected copycat incident after a metal rod was discovered on top of strawberries inside a plastic punnet at Coles in Gatton. "I am furious about this".

A woman in Wingham posted pictures of strawberries with needles in them to Facebook, saying she purchased them at the local Coles.

"Whereas we would normally be selling 30 tonnes a day of locally grown strawberries to WA markets, it has dropped to 20 tonnes".

This week, Jamie Michael, head of the Western Australian Strawberry Growers Association, told the Australian broadcaster that the needle incidents have come at peak strawberry-selling season, disrupting the market at a particularly inconvenient time. You've got more chance of winning lotto than being affected'. A number of grocers have removed the berries from their shelves.

"We are looking at points of the chain from growth all the way to distribution into the stores, we're keeping a very open mind", he said.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has issued the reward over concerns for growers as well as consumers.

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