When you go to the grocery store and buy fruit, you usually check it for quality, color, and other key attributes. In Australia right now, folks also have to take the disturbing step of checking it for needles.
These strawberries are being scanned by a metal detector. Panic over needles found in strawberries in Australia has provoked fury from politicians and fears for the country’s multi-million dollar fruit industry. https://t.co/P9ebLzVJwK pic.twitter.com/50S7pFa8SN
— CNN (@CNN) September 20, 2018
An unknown party is hiding the needles inside of strawberries and other produce all around the country, according to news.com.au. Over 100 different incidents have been reported to date, since becoming an alarming issue around two weeks ago. The activity has even prompted local supermarket giant Woolworth’s to take needles off their shelves entirely until the crisis is resolved.
So far, the fruits involved also include mangos and bananas, and police have caught at least one suspect they believe to be a copycat criminal.
It’s unclear at this point why the needles are being hidden and why strawberries have been the chief fruit targeted by the perpetrators. But Australia is taking drastic steps to try and mitigate their threat.
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) September 20, 2018
For starters, they’ve cracked down on food tampering, imposing a 10-15 year sentence to anyone caught committing the crime. There’s also a social media campaign encouraging people to smash their strawberries. This way, they can still enjoy the seasonal berry without the fear of biting into a needle.
It’s outlandish and bizarre that this type of serial criminal activity is happening, but until the needlers are caught, Australian grocers and consumers are going to be on their toes when shopping for fruit.