Coles, Aldi pull all strawberries from shelves nationwide, except WA stores

 brisbanetimes.com.au  9/16/2018 12:18:18 AM  2

"The safety of our customers is our top priority and anyone concerned about their health should seek medical advice.

"Coles will be working with growers and suppliers to offer support and will ensure that when supply recommences all strawberry punnets are fully inspected before they are sent to supermarkets."

Aldi also confirmed the supermarket chain had withdrawn strawberries from shelves in most states and territories.

"Due to the escalating number of identified cases and multiple brands of strawberries reported by authorities, we have taken the proactive step of withdrawing all strawberries for sale in Aldi stores across Queensland, NSW, ACT, South Australia and Victoria," an Aldi Australia spokeswoman said.

"We will seek guidance from the Queensland Emergency Co-ordination Centre before returning strawberries to our shelves.

"Now that the withdrawal of product is complete, our focus will shift to working with our primary producers and the supporting supply chain to do what we can to minimise the impact and cost of these withdrawals.

"Our hope is that we’ll have guidance from authorities that we can return strawberries to shelves in the very near future."

A Queensland man posted this photo of a needle in a strawberry after reporting his friend swallowed one last Sunday.

A Queensland man posted this photo of a needle in a strawberry after reporting his friend swallowed one last Sunday.

Photo: Joshua Gane

Woolworths has withdrawn Berry Licious, Berry Obsession, Donnybrook, Oasis and Love Berry branded strawberries as a precaution after advice from health authorities.

The supermarket is offering full refunds and doesn't stock the other affected brand, Delightful strawberries. A Woolworths spokeswoman confirmed other strawberries are still available in-store.

"At Woolworths, we take food safety incredibly seriously and are working hand in hand with the police and health authorities as they lead the response in this matter," the spokeswoman said.

"We will stay in close contact and continue to be steered by the authorities on the protection of our customers.

"We urge customers to follow the advice of the health authorities and chop all strawberries before consumption."

The news comes after police have confirmed a fourth case of strawberry contamination in NSW after a Coles customer found pins in three pieces of fruit from a supermarket in Sydney's south.

Other cases of strawberry contamination have so far been identified in NSW in Tweed Heads, Taree and Wingham, and in Queensland in Townsville, Everton Park and Redbank Plains. There have also been two cases reported in Victoria.

On Saturday, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a person responsible for the contamination of strawberries using needles and pins.

"Whoever is behind this is not just putting families at risk across Queensland and the rest of Australia – they are putting an entire industry at risk,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

"How could any right-minded person want to put a baby or a child or anybody's health at risk by doing such a dreadful act?"

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