Two needles found in Leongatha strawberry punnet
THE strawberry crisis arrived on the kitchen table of a Korumburra family last Thursday, September 20 when 15 year old Korumburra youth, Brock Allman, chomped into a rich, red Queensland-grown piece of fruit.
In so doing, his tongue was immediately punctured by a sharp object.
“Mum, my tongue’s bleeding,” he called out to his incredulous mother, taking the half eaten strawberry out of his mouth to reveal a small, pointy sewing needle embedded in the fruit.
“We cut up the other strawberries and found another one,” he told the Sentinel-Times last Thursday morning on the way to the Korumburra Police Station.
“Two needles in the one packet.
“I just started eating it and it pricked my tongue.
“It was a bit of a shock for sure,” said Brock.
“We heard that someone in Yarram found one but we didn’t think there was much of a risk down here. You wouldn’t expect that.
“That’s why we came in, to warn people that it’s happening here too.”
Brock’s mother said she thought it was “sick”.
“It’s just so stupid to be putting needles into fruit. They’ve called it domestic terrorism. It’s terrible for the farmers having to dump so many strawberries. It’s dreadful. And you’ve got little kids eating them and the elderly too. it’s a disgrace,” said Mrs Allman.
“He’s OK but he might have swallowed it,” she said.
The family bought the 250gm, snap-sealed packet of strawberries labelled ‘Fresh ASD” strawberries from Caboolture in Queensland (also of Wandin East) at Aldi in Leongatha for $1.69 last Wednesday, September 18.
After discovering the needles, which they believe were inserted into the fruit in Queensland, not locally, because of the tamper-proof packaging, they immediately went to the Korumburra Police where they made a statement and left the punnet of contaminated strawberries.
Police said the matter would be reported and investigated.
Aldi at Leongatha was advised of the incident at lunchtime on Thursday when a police officer from Leongatha attended the store but the supermarket had already sold out of strawberries and there were no strawberries on the shelves at the time.
The Sentinel-Times contacted the supermarket but a spokesperson declined to comment. It is understood that after initially removing strawberries from the shelves when the trouble first arose two weeks ago, Aldi had bowed to a plea from farmers to put the fruit back on the shelves.
But they posted the following notice on the shelves as an explanation and warning:
“We’re pleased to put strawberries back on shelf and resume supply with our Aussie producers. As a temporary precaution, we support the advice of the Food Safety Authorities to chop strawberries before eating them. we apologise for any inconvenience caused to our customers.”