Woman arrested over strawberry needle contamination in Australia

Woman arrested over strawberry needle contamination in Australia

Woman arrested over strawberry needle contamination in Australia

Contaminated produce was found across five Australian states and even in New Zealand.

It was confirmed on Saturday that a woman has been arrested in connection with the contamination.

The investigation was not over, with further investigative strategies being undertaken, he said.

The contamination scandal saw countless amounts of fruit be dumped strawberries recalled and supermarkets pulling stock from their shelves.

Wacker said Trinh, an Australian citizen, "was a supervisor at a farm", with Queensland's Courier Mail identifying her employer as the Berrylicious and Berry Obsession farm - one of the growers at the heart of the scare.

Superintendent Wacker said the case was finally broken open upon information received by Victoria Police as part of the interstate investigation.

His arrest came after a teenage boy was arrested in New South Wales and dealt with under the youth cautioning system after he admitted to putting needles in strawberries as a prank.

A police taskforce was established with officers from the State Crime Command co-ordinating the investigation together with detectives in a number of police districts in Queensland.

Police will allege there was a circumstance of aggravation, which will elevate the maximum penalty to 10 years behind bars.

Trinh's lawyer Michael Cridland made a bail application but withdrew it after magistrate Christine Roney advised it was "premature" because the motivation behind the alleged contamination was still unclear.

The scare brought the strawberry industry to its knees and forced the federal government to introduce harsher penalties for those caught tampering with food. If she is charged and convicted, she could face 10 years in prison. She would not consider granting bail for the woman until the reasons for her actions became clearer.

The arrest follows at least 100 reported cases of sewing needles or pins found in fruit across the country.

The farm involved had been notified of the arrest and was "very relieved", he said.

On Monday Supt Jon Wacker, from Queensland Police, described it as a "unique investigation impacting virtually every state and jurisdiction in Australia".

Funds will also be given to the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association and Growcom to distribute to affected farmers.

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