Woman arrested over strawberry needle contamination in Australia

The food contamination scare led to harsher penalties being rushed through federal parliament for those caught tampering with food

The food contamination scare led to harsher penalties being rushed through federal parliament for those caught tampering with food

The needle crisis consisted of over 100 alleged incidences of fruit contamination with the majority involving strawberries.

The woman, who is understood to be from Queensland, has been charged with seven counts of contamination of goods, which has a three-year maximum jail term.

A strawberry farm worker put needles into the fruit in retaliation over a workplace grievance, sparking a health crisis in Australia, a court heard.

Trinh's lawyer Michael Cridland originally applied for bail ahead of the court hearing today but has since rescinded it whilst the motivation behind the alleged tampering becomes clear.

Detective John Walker of the State Crime Command said she worked in the strawberry industry near the town of Caboolture, north of Brisbane.

Strawberries containing needles were first reported in Queensland, the third most populous of Australia's six states, on September 8 after a 21-year-old man who had unwittingly consumed one of the contaminated berries was rushed to the hospital with "severe abdominal pains".

"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", the association said in a statement.

Superintendent Wacker said there were 186 reports of sewing needles being found, 77 of which were in Queensland.

Suspect My Ut Trinh, 50, arrives at Brisbane police watch-house on Sunday.

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A safety warning over the strawberries has been in effect since 12 September.

Almost 186 of the alleged incidents involved sewing needles and 15 reports are believed to be hoax or false complaints.

Police allege DNA was found on a sewing needle in a sabotaged strawberry in Victoria.

November 11 - My Ut Trinh was taken into custody and charged with seven counts of contamination of goods.

Reports across New South Wales, Western Australia, Tasmania and South Australia followed.

Following the initial discovery of contaminated strawberry punnets, which were believed to have originated in Queensland, needles were also found in bananas, apples and mangoes.

Officials from the strawberry association said they "have reason to suspect that a disgruntled ex-employee" of Woolworth, the supermarket where numerous affected strawberries were sold, was behind the contamination.

Detective John Walker said earlier on Monday that the investigation had been unique in that it involved nearly every state and jurisdiction in the country.

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