Queensland – A 50-year-old woman has been arrested by police after a “complex investigation” on the alleged alleged contamination of strawberries found in supermarkets earlier this year.
The suspect is expected to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday, Nov. 12.
The arrest was done after 100 reported cases of sewing needles or pins found in fruit across the country. These incidents made the authorities in Queensland to issue a warning on September 12, advising consumers to slice the fruits before consuming it.
There was a nationwide investigation conducted by the Queensland Police . in cooperation “with multiple government, law enforcement and intelligence agencies.”
The needle scare in strawberries has greatly affected the multi-million dollar fruit industry, prompting the Australian government to impose tougher penalties for food tampering, increasing the maximum prison term from 10 years to 15 years.
Supermarkets all over Australia removed strawberries from their shelves in response to the scare. While some local and overseas buyers suspended the sale of Australian strawberries.
Australia exports strawberries to countries like Malaysia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, and Thailand.
It made up 3% of the country’s fruit exports for the year ending June 2017, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, valued at 954 million Australian dollars ($690 million) for the same period, this is according to a commissioned report by the Australian Horticultural Exporters Association.