With something as tiny as a sewing needle, an unknown saboteur has left Australians on edge with an apparent act of consumer terrorism.
Over the past five days, a number of the small metal needles have been found embedded inside Australian-grown strawberries, forcing supermarkets to pull punnets from their shelves and shoppers to return or dispose of the fruit.
But its growers who are feeling the crisis most intensely.
Stephanie Chheang, the daughter of Donnybrook Berries co-owner Leena Lee Cufari, shared footage of the impact the ongoing scare has had on her family’s Queensland business. A truckload of fruit, dumped – just in case.
“This is no doubt the worst thing to ever happen to my family,” she wrote on Facebook. “This here is worth more then you could ever imagine and within three days we lost it all.
“My mum and my step dad has worked years to build the empire they’re sitting on now, they put all their money and effort in to build such a successful business. They work hard to make the money for our family and to have these selfish individuals destroy it is just so upsetting. [sic]”
Since news of the scare broke on September 13, a number of needles have been found in strawberries across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia.
In the latest reported incident, a child sustained a minor injury after biting into a contaminated strawberry at a Brisbane school on Tuesday morning, according to The Courier Mail.