Police arrest woman over strawberry contamination

12 November, 2018, 13:46 | Author: Rachel Logan
  • The accused arrives at the Brisbane watch house. Source 7NewsMore

A woman has been arrested over a strawberry needle contamination scare that forced supermarkets across Australia to pull fruit from shelves and farmers to dump it by the truckload.

The first discovery of needles in strawberries was on September 9, and Trinh has known she was a person of interest from the 12th, the court heard.

An Australian woman has been charged for allegedly hiding sewing needles inside strawberries bound for supermarkets across the country in a weird crime that left a number of people hospitalized and sparked a string of copycat incidents.

Officers say the arrest follows an ongoing "complex investigation" with coordination from government, law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

An Australian woman charged with placing needles in strawberries, triggering a nationwide food tampering crisis, has been refused bail.

The 50-year-old is taken into the police watch house.

"This is a major and unprecedented police investigation with a lot of complexities involved", Superintendent Wacker said in a statement.

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The woman was arrested and charged with seven counts of contamination of goods under Section 238 Criminal Code on Sunday evening.

It was alleged in court that My Ut Trinh's actions arose in retaliation to a workplace grievance, sparking recalls that devastated the industry in Australia after needles were found in strawberries in all six of Australia's states, a court has heard.

Queensland authorities notified the public of the safety risk on September 12, and reports of needle-filled strawberries cropped up in all of the Australian states in the subsequent weeks.

On Monday Supt Jon Wacker, from Queensland Police, described it as a "unique investigation impacting virtually every state and jurisdiction in Australia". The scare was concentrated in Queensland state, where 77 incidents were reported, with 15 of them believed to be hoaxes or false complaints.

The investigation was not over, with further investigative strategies being undertaken, he said.

Thankfully, no one was seriously harmed from eating a contaminated strawberry. Her next court appearance will be on November 22. She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted, officials said.

The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association have also congratulated Queensland Police for their efforts.

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