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Needle found in apple in Sydney as fruit terrorism grips nation

Staff Writer |
A shocked Sydney mother has found a needle hidden inside an apple that she bought from one of the country's major supermarket chains.

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The Seven Network reported on Tuesday that the woman said she discovered the object when she began cutting the apple into pieces for her children.

"I just thought wow this can't possibly be happening," she said.

"Not in apples. I'd seen the news about the strawberries and I'd been vigilant about cutting those up for the girls but to see this in an apple..."

With similar contamination scares rocking Australia's strawberry industry this week, the latest bizarre incident of so-called fruit "terrorism" has angered Australian consumers and left authorities and producers looking for answers.

But despite the announcement of a federal investigation into the matter, police have not yet been able to pinpoint the culprits.

So far there have been cases reported in every state of Australia, sparking major fears of copycat attacks.

Police in the State of Queensland also confirmed that a metal object had been discovered inside a banana purchased from a supermarket.

With health warnings issued for Aussie strawberry brands, growers have looked for creative solutions to address the danger including metal detectors. However, many producers have been forced to dump their agricultural produce after countries like New Zealand put a block on Aussie strawberry imports.

"I'm angry for all the associated people, it's the farmers, the people who supply them, the packaging people, the truckies with families to support, who suddenly lose their jobs, it's far-reaching," Queensland Strawberry Growers Association vice president Adrian Schultz said, adding that the attacks were akin to "terrorism".

Australian Agriculture Minister David Littleproud on Tuesday demanded prison sentences for the offenders responsible for placing pins and needles in strawberries.

In his first comments on the contamination scare, Littleproud said that the government would support farmers impacted by the contamination however they could.

"State agencies need to throw the book at (the offenders). Whoever this idiot is, is lucky they haven't hurt anybody. I'd expect penalties to include jail time," he told Fairfax Media on Tuesday.

"My thoughts are with every farmer caught up in this and the Coalition is always looking at ways to help farmers and we will continue to monitor developments as this unfolds."

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