As the strawberry contamination crisis continues to unfold, a Queensland strawberry farmer has forked out thousands on a metal detector.
Glass House Mountains farmer Leonard Smith told the Courier Mail he had invested in the $30,000 piece of equipment in order to get his fruit back on supermarket shelves.
As many as eight brands are believed to be affected, including Berry Obsession, Berry Licious, Donnybrook Berries, Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries, Oasis, Mal’s Black Label and Pinata.
Sewing needles have now been found in strawberries in all six states, Coles and Aldi have pulled all strawberries from their shelves, and New Zealand supermarkets Foodstuffs and Countdown, which are owned by Woolworths, have announced the removal of Australian-grown strawberries from their shelves.
Queensland Strawberry Growers Association vice president Adrian Schultz says the crisis has brought a multi-million-dollar industry of 150 Queensland growers to its knees, with jobs beyond the growers now likely to be lost, as reported by AAP.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has called on Food Safety Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to investigate the contamination, which he described as a “vicious crime” and also an attack on the agriculture sector.
The strawberry industry is calling on consumers to continue buying strawberries, but to cut them up before eating to ensure they’re safe.