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Proving that we can’t let go of the past, one supermarket has confirmed that sewing needles were found in a punnet of grapes.
Proving that a terrible idea is grand forever, the idea of needles hidden in fruit is back. According to a solitary Facebook post, one Victorian noted that her grapes possessed a sewing needle within.
Aldi issued a one-line statement on Monday: “Food tampering, involving the deliberate interference with food is a criminal offence and we work with authorities on all reported incidents.”
This, of course, sounds very much like 2018, when the government dropped everything to mobilise against the people they labelled as “food terrorists”, quickly rushing through stricter food contamination laws in an effort to curtail it.
At the time, Scott Morrison said that “If you do that sort of thing in this country, we will come after you.”
In 2018, the first incident was reported by authorities in Queensland on September 13 where several confirmed cases of strawberries with needles in them were revealed. On September 15, NSW Police confirmed that strawberries with needles inside them had been purchased from a Sydney supermarket.
Then on September 16, South Australian police reported a needle was found in a punnet of strawberries purchased in the Adelaide Hills, followed quickly by a report from Tasmania that strawberries contaminated by needles were found at a Hobart supermarket.
The next day, Western Australia Police also confirmed that the problem had spread there with a man in the town of York locating a needle in his kitchen sink after preparing strawberries to eat. No serious injuries were noted, though a number of people have been admitted to hospital for primarily minor, related injuries.
Late in the week, reports came in suggesting that the problem had spread to the Northern Territory with a needle being found inside a strawberry purchased at a Darwin supermarket earlier in the week. However, NT Police deputy commissioner Grant Nicholls indicated that there was “every chance” it was a copycat incident.
At least seven brands were affected, including Donnybrook Berries, Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries, Oasis Brands, Berry Obsession, Berry Licious and Mal’s Black Label strawberries.
Australian Federal Police and Border Force assisted the Queensland Police-led investigation. At the time, Australian Federal Police commissioner Andrew Colvin indicated that they believe there are copycats involved now which explains the sharp increase to over 100 reported incidents.
At the time, home affairs minister Peter Dutton has also pointed to a large number of false reports and fake social media posts which are making things more difficult. “It is a diversion of policing resource, when we want to find the true culprits here,” Dutton said. “I would encourage anyone to pull any of that content down that they have posted up that is fictional or is of a fabricated arrangement.”
Call me cynical, but I’m not prepared to go through the same level of nonsense again.