Strawberry sabotage akin to 'terrorism': Australia PM

Strawberry sabotage akin to 'terrorism': Australia PM

Strawberry sabotage akin to 'terrorism': Australia PM

A warning was even issued for everyone to cut up their strawberries before consuming them to check for needles after several people reported finding sewing needles inside their strawberries.

Police are investigating more than 100 reports of needle-tampering cases across the country, many of which are suspected copycat cases or hoaxes. Malaysia is working with Australian authorities to ensure strawberries imported into the country are not contaminated.

The offender faces up to 10 years in prison.

One young girl has already been arrested over behaviour that "could be called a prank", acting police assistant commissioner Stuart Smith said.

Earlier this week, Woolworths NZ and Foodstuffs stopped the distribution of Australian strawberries.

Braetop Berries strawberry farmer Aidan Young holds a strawberry as he poses amid strawberries he will destroy following a nationwide needle scare, on his farm in the Glass House Mountains in Queensland on September 20, 2018.

Rebuilding confidence in the strawberry industry is the highest priority, says Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, as he encouraged Australians to continue buying the fruit.

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As farmers reeled from the crisis, the federal government intervened on Wednesday, announced a $1m support package for the industry in addition to the tough new penalties.

Meanwhile, sales of metal detectors in New Zealand soared in the wake of the Aussie fruit needle scare, and news.com.au reported on an Adelaide woman's simple trick to make sure her strawberries are safe to eat going viral.

The Internet also has hundreds of recipes for jams, pies and other dishes of strawberries. The state's strawberry picking season is expected to begin in the next six weeks, according to the premier. "The full weight of the law should be thrown at people", Labor frontbencher Tony Burke told Sky News.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison said that the authorities want to toughen the punishment for damaging fruit.

The government is rushing legislation through parliament to ratchet up the maximum penalties for so-called "food terrorists" from 10 to 15 years behind bars.

"It's not a joke it's not amusing". It's not amusing. You're putting the livelihoods of hard-working Australians at risk.

Earlier, three Australian state has announced a reward of 100 thousand Australian dollars (71 700 USA dollars) for information which may help in the investigation of this crime.

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