Strawberries sold by a second Sunshine Coast-based supplier are being pulled from supermarket shelves after further reports of needles found hidden inside the fruit.
Police and health officials on Friday said they had confirmed reports from three consumers in Tweed Heads in New South Wales and Queensland’s Redbank Plains and Everton Park.
The strawberries were sold under the Donnybrook brand, which is supplied by a number of Sunshine Coast farms not far from a Warmuran farm which is also under police investigation.
It is unclear which of the farms supplying berries under the Donnybrook brand the strawberries came from, but the reports were made to authorities within the last 24 hours.
“We’ve got to look at this as a whole, it’s a very very broad picture and we can’t speculate in any way, shape or form,” Queensland Acting Chief Superintendent Terry Lawrence said.
He says there is no link between the three most recent cases and the Warmuran farm, which supplied contaminated berries under the brand names Berry Obsession and Berry Licious.
It comes after NSW mother Chantal Faugeras posted to Facebook images of strawberries she says she bought from a Coles supermarket on the state’s mid-north coast on Tuesday.
In the post Faugeras says her 10-year-old discovered a pin embedded in a strawberry while eating a punnet they had bought from the Coles at Wingham.
“We found 3 pins inside 3 strawberries,” Faugeras wrote. “Please be careful and crush them up before eating or just chuck them out.”
She said the punnets were both Delightful Strawberries branded product. Coles said they had been in contact with Faugeras.
“Coles takes the safety of the food we sell seriously and we are working with our suppliers, police and state health regulators to investigate,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
“The safety of our customers is our priority and anyone concerned about their health should seek medical advice.”
The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association believes a disgruntled farm worker may be responsible but police say they are investigating all aspects of the strawberry transit process.
It is unclear if Faugeras’ discovery is related to the earlier incidents or a potential copycat.
On Thursday, Queensland police announced they were investigating a suspected copycat incident after a metal rod was discovered on top of strawberries inside a plastic punnet at a Coles in Gatton.
Consumers across all three states have been urged to chop up or throw out berries purchased in the past week as police seek a culprit for the sabotage.
It’s unclear where strawberries sold under the Delightful Strawberries brand come from.