'Be ultra cautious': new strawberry alert issued after suspected copycat incident

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The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association suspects a disgruntled ex-employee may be responsible for placing sewing needles into strawberries sold in Woolworths.

In a statement released by Queensland Strawberry Growers Association on Wednesday, it was confirmed the company had suspicions a certain ex-employee had inserted the needles into the strawberries which were found over the last week.

Police began looking into the potentially unsafe berries after a Facebook user on Saturday wrote that their friend took a bite of a strawberry and ate "half a sewing needle", according to the Palm Beach Post.

Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said the contaminated brands came from a farm in south-east Queensland, and were sold to Woolworths, but could also have been distributed to other stores.

Investigators said there are four contamination incidents, two each in Queensland and Victoria.

'To our current knowledge, two labels, Berry Licious and Berry Obsession are the only affected lines.

Police are checking every step of the production chain, and they say strawberries purchased from Thursday are safe.

Acting Detective Chief Superintendent Terry Lawrence said there was no evidence of extortion but police inquiries were continuing.

"Luckily, in each of those cases, the needles were found within the strawberry by the person who had purchased them when cutting the strawberries, as we had asked them to do", he said.

The pair then checked the other strawberries and found a sewing needle inside another one.

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"A lot of the social media that we're seeing, people are being very supportive and really - hopefully - understand that this is an isolated incident", Rowling said.

She said that with the affected products having been taken off the shelves, the public can now feel safe eating strawberries, adding that the incidents.

An investigation is also underway after an employee at a Coles supermarket in Gatton discovered a small metal rod laying across the top of some strawberries inside a plastic punnet on Thursday. "But at this stage, please cut them up and just look to make sure they haven't been contaminated", Dr Young said.

"It wasn't five minutes later they rang back and said it was too late, he'd actually bitten into it", she told 9 News.

"We're fairly confident if people do come forward with a needle in a strawberry, particularly with the packaging, that will provide us with some information", he said.

Police were investigating the possibility of an extortion attempt or someone carrying out a vendetta against the supermarket giant.

"I'm urging anybody who finds something within their strawberries to report to or telephone police link".

It comes after a fourth contaminated punnet was bought at a store in Central Queensland and there was a potential copycat incident at a Coles west of Brisbane.

"We could be finished by the weekend", he said.

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