Strawberry needle contamination : Woman arrested, charged with contamination of goods

Canberra, Nov 11 : A woman was arrested on Sunday in Australia in connection with the “strawberry scare” after sewing needles were found hidden inside the fruit, police said.

The police said the 50-year-old was arrested in Queensland “following a complex… and extensive investigation”, the BBC reported.

The woman  has been charged with seven counts contamination of goods under Section 238 Criminal Code, which has a three-year maximum penalty.

A circumstance of aggravation will also be alleged, elevating the maximum to 10 years’ imprisonment.

The woman is expected to face unspecified charges on Sunday evening. She will appear in a Brisbane court on Monday.

A nationwide investigation was launched after shocked shoppers first reported the contamination in September.

There were over 100 reports of needles being found in strawberries, though many were suspected to be copycat cases or social media stunts.

Farmers were forced to dump tonnes of berries and supermarkets pulled the fruit off shelves.

The first cases emerged in Queensland, where a man was taken to hospital with stomach pains after eating strawberries.

The scare spread to every Australian state and later to New Zealand, raising public alarm.

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