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Needle found in strawberry punnet in South Island supermarket

Author
NZ Herald ,
Section
National,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 27 November 2018, 11:09AM
Police said the fruit was purchased at a supermarket in South Canterbury's Geraldine over the weekend.
Police said the fruit was purchased at a supermarket in South Canterbury's Geraldine over the weekend.

A needle has been found inside a punnet of strawberries purchased at a supermarket in the South Island.

Police said the fruit was purchased at a supermarket in South Canterbury's Geraldine over the weekend.

The needle and strawberry were part of a punnet purchased from the supermarket.

A customer purchased the punnet of strawberries on Saturday morning and reported to police in the evening the strawberry had been tampered with.

A police spokesperson said they were investigating.

It is the second incident of its kind in New Zealand in recent months.

In September thee needles were found in strawberries in New Zealand, according to the Ministry for Primary Industries.

A timeline released by MPI said three needles were found in three strawberries in one punnet.

The needles were found in a punnet at the Countdown St Lukes, Auckland, supermarket.

Woolworths New Zealand also informed MPI that the needles had been found in one of their strawberries.

Timeline of the strawberry sabotage

Sunday, September 23, 3.55pm - Woolworths NZ informed MPI of the findings of three needles in three strawberries from one punnet. Confirmation that police have been informed. MPI requests details.

Sunday, September 23, 4pm - Woolworths NZ initiates withdrawal of all Choice brand strawberries in all Countdown stores who stock them.

Sunday, September 23, 4.20pm - MPI requests additional information from Woolworths.

Sunday, September 23, 4.36pm – Woolworths NZ sends MPI summary of situation and photos. Confirmation in writing that Police have been informed.

Saturday, November 25 - A needle was found in a strawberry purchased at a supermarket in the South Canterbury town of Geraldine.

The incidents follow more than 100 reports of fruit being tampered with across Australia.

in September, University of Canterbury Professor of Sociology Greg Newbold said it was likely a "copycat situation".

"It has become a bit of a fad. Somebody has seen they can get publicity, become famous for an afternoon. As long as hysteria is generated it will keep feeding into the problem."

The drive of those behind it was similar to pyromaniacs.

"It creates panic and they get a reaction, much in the same way pyromaniacs set fires then watch fire brigades arrive to put them out

"It can make them feel important in their mostly insignificant lives."

The best way to deal with these situations was to downplay them, Newbold said.

"Millions and millions of dollars of strawberries are being thrown out.

"The most rational way to deal with it is to put them back on the shelves, put up a warning sign saying be careful, maybe put a 10 per cent discount on or something like that. Then people can make their own choices.

"All you need to do is put a knife in, or bite gently – you're not going to hurt yourself.

"That would end the whole situation, and would not feed into the egos of the people who are doing it. This is a huge storm in a teacup."

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