Central West police are investigating a report of a needle found in a strawberry purchased in Orange on the Thursday, September 15, which was reported to Police on Tuesday afternoon.
The Orange store has removed all its strawberries from sale.
A statement from Central West Police District said police from Orange are currently liaising with specialist police as part of the investigation.
“NSW Police Force are warning the public of the serious penalties associated with deliberate fruit contamination as investigations continue into the insertion of sewing needles into strawberries,” the release said.
More than 20 reports of contaminated strawberries have been reported to NSW police across the state, with police saying three brands – “Berry Obsession”, “Berry Licious” and “Donnybrook” – all being affected.
All three brands have been recalled.
While police have received reports of potential contamination impacting other strawberry brands, consumers are advised they are believed to be safe to eat, but to be sure, cut the fruit before consuming.
An investigation, which is now being led by Queensland Health, was launched on Wednesday 12 September 2018 to investigate reports of contaminated strawberries supplied from Queensland.
Police are urging anyone who has purchased contaminated product to take the punnet to their local police station immediately for triage and forensic examination.
If any member of the community is concerned about the integrity of the product they’ve purchased, it may be returned to the point of sale.
All relevant information is being collated in each state and provided to Queensland authorities to assist with their ongoing investigation.
Police have also received reports of contamination of other types of fruit, including a banana and an apple, which are being treated as isolated incidents.
The community is reminded that deliberately contaminating food is a criminal offence and a threat to public safety. In NSW, the maximum penalty for the offence is 10 years imprisonment
Anyone with information that may assist investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.
More to come.