Australia's Sewing-Needles-in-Fruit Epidemic Worsens
In a nightmarish turn of events, needles have also been found in mangoes, bananas, and apples
In a story that seems like a horrifying episode of Black Mirror, an epidemic of sewing needles found in strawberries in Australian grocery stores has gotten worse. Previously, the sewing needles had been found in six different brands of strawberries in six Australian states. Now, according to Australian authorities reporting to CNN, it's spread to other fruits.
Needles have now been found in mangoes, bananas, and an apple. The report was announced the same day that grocery giant Woolworth's pulled strawberries from their shelves entirely after 100 cases of needles in strawberries were found nationwide. Woolworth's has also suspended needle sales. Many of the incidents are suspected to be copycats instances of food tampering.
In response, the Australian government has increased the prison term for anyone caugh tampering with food from 10 to 15 years. Still, fears of fruit-tampering are rampant, thanks to Australia's robust export market for strawberries. "It's not a joke, it's not funny, you're putting the livelihoods of hard-working Australians at risk and you're scaring children," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said last week, according to CNN. "You're a coward and you're a grub and if you do that sort of thing in this country we will come after you."
And it's not just Australia—the scare has hit New Zealand. Officials with the New Zealand supermarket Countdown reported that strawberries imported from Western Australia had needles in them, according to Food Safety News. Until the crisis is resolved, Australians have been encouraged to slice into their fruits before consuming them. Yikes.