‘Disgruntled ex-employee’ sticks sewing needles in strawberries, sending one man to the hospital: Reports

Australian officials are recalling fresh produce they suspect might have been contaminated by a disgruntled employee of a Woolworths supermarket.

According to the New York Post, the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association first announced the potential safety risk involving sewing needles stuck into the berries sold under two brands.

The warning came after a 21-year-old reportedly swallowed a partial needle on Sunday and was admitted to an area hospital with complaints of “severe abdominal pain”

Customers with either Berry Obsession or Berry Licious strawberries sold in Queensland, New South Wales or Victoria could be included in the recall.

Those strawberries sold after Thursday are said to have been from a later shipment and are safe from the threat.

The strawberries believed to have contained the needle that injured Hoani Hearne was reportedly sold at a supermarket in Brisbane. He said other strawberries also had needles inside of them.

Acting Queensland Chief Superintendent of the State Crime Command Terry Lawrence said the evidence indicates the act was “obviously” intended to injure others.

“Police have spoken to the person who operates the farm and they are assisting us with our inquiries,” he said.

The growers association released a statement acknowledging the reports.

“At this time, have reason to suspect that a disgruntled ex-employee may have orchestrated the occurrence, wherein sewing needles were found in a number of strawberries, in Queensland and Victoria,” the statement read.

The supermarket chain said it removed the affected brands from its produce departments.

“Woolworths takes food safety very seriously and we are looking into these claims with our supplier,” the company wrote.

[Featured image: Public Domain Pictures]