Australian Police Arrest 50-Year-Old Woman After Needles Found In Strawberries

Cheryl Sanders
November 12, 2018

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.

Police have charged Ms Trinh with seven counts of contamination of goods, an offence that normally carries a three-year maximum penalty.

Authorities are also expected to claim that Trinh had aired her workplace grievances to colleagues, before allegedly spiking the berries as an act of revenge against her employer.

The woman, reportedly in her 50s, is now set to face "unspecified charges" later today and appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday.

"This is one of the most trying investigations I've worked on", Superintendent Wacker said, noting the extensive involvement of interstate police and Australian Border Force during the months-long investigation.

There were over 100 reports of sewing needles being found inside strawberries.

Queensland Police Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker, of the Drug and Serious Crime Group, said the investigation had been unprecedented.

A public health alert was issued on September 12 after sewing needles were found inserted in strawberries that been grown and purchased in southeast Queensland.

Back in September, a man was admitted to hospital after he was found to have consumed needles that were contained within a strawberry.

One incident was also reported in neighbouring New Zealand.

In a statement, the QPS said "investigations were still ongoing" and urged anyone with any other information to get in touch.

Queensland farmers were especially hard hit by the crisis, with some 150 growers responsible for the majority of Australia's winter season strawberry supply, which runs from May to October.

Queensland Strawberry Growers Association vice president Adrian Schultz thanked police for their work.

"It was a crisis driven by social media and the only real victims were the strawberry growers, and to some extent other Australian fruit growers and exporters", it said in a statement.

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