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15 September 2018, 05:12 | Austin Hogan
Image Police have warned the contamination may have spread to six brands of strawberries
South West grower and market agent Paul Da Silva, from Grower Connect, said the wholesale price had fallen 50 to 70 per cent, compared with a week ago, even though WA had not imported strawberries from Queensland for a decade.
Young advised residents that all strawberries, regardless of brand, should be cut before they're eaten.
Fruit sold under Berry Obsession, Berry Licious and Donnybrook brands have been affected, while NSW police warn fruit sold under the Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries and Oasis brands were inserted with needles by a possible copycat.
ABC News reported on Saturday that wholesale prices have halved to 50 Australian cents per punnet below the cost of production in Western Australia, where strawberries crops are now peaking, with growers forced to dump tonnes of the fruit.
"We really need the WA public to support local growers, because if they don't buy our strawberries, many may not be able to put in crops next year", he said.
(From left) Queensland chief health officer Jeanette Young and Acting Chief Superintendent of state crime command Terry Lawrence address the media regarding the strawberry contamination.
One man has been taken to hospital after swallowing fragments and a nine-year-old boy reportedly found a needle while eating a strawberry, but did not swallow it.
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"This is a serious issue and it just begs the question, how could any right-minded person want to put a baby or child or anybody's health at risk by doing such a awful act?" she said.
"So far, NSW Police Force has received reports of contaminated strawberries purchased at supermarkets at Tweed Heads, Taree, and Wingham".
The association has previously said it believes a disgruntled former farm worker may be responsible, but police say they are investigating all aspects of the strawberry transit process.
"Police have liaised with retailers to ensure that all stock is removed from sale", police said.
The product is now set to under-go forensic testing at the local police station and authorities work with the supermarket.
Health officials have urged people purchasing the fruit to be cautious.
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