Needle found in NZ grown fruit

News 27/11/2018

Police are investigating after a needle was found inside a strawberry in the South Island.

The deadly object was found inside a punnet purchased at a Fresh Choice supermarket in Geraldine on Saturday morning, a police spokesperson says.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) says the person who found the needle was not harmed. 

"The matter has been referred to the police who are leading the criminal investigation. MPI will provide support and information to police where needed and work to mitigate any public health risk," a spokesperson told Newshub.

"At this stage, MPI does not have any reason to believe this is more widespread than the single discovery. However, as a precautionary measure the store has removed strawberries from shelves."

It follows the nationwide food scare across Australia when over 100 needles were found in Australian strawberries.

It's the latest needle to be found in New Zealand since three needles were found in a punnet of strawberries at an Auckland supermarket in September.

Our strawberry industry is worth more than $35 million, with around 70 growers. Strawberry growers warn that a copycat effect could be devastating to our industry.

"We've got a number of growers with their livelihoods on the line," Strawberries NZ executive manager Michael Ahern said after the needles were found in Auckland.

"Employees and their service companies, there's a lot at stake."

Mr Ahern urged New Zealanders not to be overly concerned, telling The AM Show growers will "do everything they can to provide the New Zealand consumer with a trusted and reliable product".

Newshub.