It is not just strawberries and apples that have been affected by the needle scare but mangoes too. According to recent reports, a customer who bought mangoes from Coles Supermarket in Brisbane, Australia found a needle in the fruit. The customer had bought mangoes and cut it after two days to find a needle in it. More than 100 reports of needle scare in fruits have been reported in Australia.
On Wednesday, a young boy from New South Wales (NSW) admitted having caused the needle scare as a 'prank'. Acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith said the young boy will be dealt under the 'youth cautioning system'. Needle Fear in Australia and New Zealand After Strawberry With Needle Stuck Inside Leaves a Man Hospitalised in Queensland.
While mostly strawberries were the target, some complained that they found needles in apples and bananas too. Chief Inspector Nigel Webber told the Central Coast Advocate said, "The customer purchased the mango at Coles West Gosford on Monday. They had it for two days and later discovered while cutting it up, a small needle." Strawberry Needle Scare in Australia: NSW Boy Arrested for Causing Scare and Crippling the Fruit Industry.
The needle scare in Australia has terribly affected the farmers. It has paralysed the fruit industry as supermarkets are keeping strawberries off their shelves. Fruits worth thousands of dollars were dumped on farms as people have stopped buying them. As the scare continued, sewing needles were taken off the shelves at a major Australian supermarket chain on Thursday.
The crisis faced by the fruit industry received international attention when Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday announced tougher penalties for anyone caught tampering with food. According to the new laws, punishment for food tampering offences can be a maximum of 15 years in prison. The bill will be introduced into Federal Parliament next week.
The fruit scare has been given a national and international profile by new Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has addressed it publicly several times in the last few days. Extending support to former, the PM also said shared a recipe for strawberry pavlova used by his wife, which he declared "the best pav I’ve ever had".