A Melbourne woman had to be rushed to hospital in the middle of celebrating her birthday after she bit into a strawberry and found a needle hidden inside.
David Chapman’s stepdaughter, Skye, was celebrating her 30th birthday when she took a bite out of one of the chocolate covered strawberries on top of her birthday cake.
The strawberries were purchased from a Coles store yesterday in Eltham, in Melbourne’s northeast.
As she bit down she noticed a large needle protruding out of the fruit.
“She was sitting down eating strawberries on her birthday, of all days, and bit right into it and there was a big needle sticking out of it,” Mr Chapman told Tony Jones at 3AW, who was filling in for Neil Mitchell.
“It was pretty much the whole length of the strawberry. It was actually in her mouth and luckily she pulled it out.”
Skye then had to spend the night in the emergency room after feeling that something was stuck in her throat.
“We kept an eye on it and she told me it had moved down a bit, so we took her to ER,” he said.
“It looks like she has something else stuck in her throat, its not metal but it looks like they may have put something else foreign in there.
“It could have been a bit of plastic or end of a toothpick, it could be anything.”
Mr Chapman said Skye was eating the strawberries with children at the time and it could have easily been one of them that bit down on the needle.
He said Skye was eventually sent home and told the item would pass on its own.
A Coles spokesperson told news.com.au they have spoken to Skye after a complaint was made about the incident.
“Coles takes the safety of the food we sell seriously, and we have spoken to the customer to follow up their complaint,” the spokesperson said.
“We have worked with our strawberry suppliers to implement additional control measures to ensure strawberries are inspected before they are sent to supermarkets.
“We have notified the police and will follow up with our supplier to investigate the matter.”
Victoria Police confirmed they were investigating reports of strawberry contamination in Eltham, along with another similar report in Fairfield.
Police have been told a needle was found in a strawberry bought from a store in Fairfield on August 25 and was reported on September 10.
Investigators also received a report today about a needle being found in a strawberry that was bought from a supermarket in Eltham on September 22.
“The community is reminded that anyone found to be contaminating food products can be charged with a serious indictable offence with penalties including up to 10 years in jail,” Victoria Police said.
“Police are appealing for people to take care when consuming fruit and urging anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.”
These latest reports come a year after multiple needles were found in strawberries across the country, causing widespread consumer panic.
The first reports of contamination surfaced in September 2018, sparking a major police investigation as the number of reports continued to grow
The strawberry contamination saga had a severe impact on strawberry farmers and even resulted in an increased jail term for those caught contaminating food products.
My Ut Trinh, a 50-year-old former Queensland farm supervisor, was eventually arrested over the original incidents that sparked a series of copycats.
In November last year she was charged with seven counts of contamination of goods with intent to cause economic loss.