Strawberry needle crisis: Farmer worker has bail application rejected


A 50-year-old Queensland woman has been charged with seven counts of contamination over the strawberry needle incidents that have sparked a nationwide crisis in Australia.

Her arrest follows a complex investigation into the alleged contamination of strawberries in Queensland in September.

"The Queensland Police Service has allocated a significant amount of resources to ensure those responsible are brought to justice", Superintendent Jon Wacker said.

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

At the peak of the crisis, police were investigating more than 100 reports of tampered fruit nationally, most of which turned out to be fake.

He was charged with making a false report to police and falsely claiming goods had been contaminated.

The strawberry industry, worth A$160 million ($116 million), was rocked in September following almost 200 complaints of sewing needles found in strawberries and other fruits.

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She was believed to have had grievances about her treatment at the farm and police will allege she had told people about exacting revenge.

"Driving up to the coast when Hoani van Dorp bites through a strawberry and swallows half a sewing needle", Joshua Gane, the victim's friend, wrote in a Facebook post at the time.

While no injuries were reported from the needles, the crisis escalated to six states and neighbouring New Zealand. Scott Morrison, the prime minister, introduced new tampering laws that included increasing maximum jail sentences from 10 to 15 years.

In a statement, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk: "Whoever is behind this is not just putting families at risk across Queensland and the rest of Australia - they are putting an entire industry at risk".

It was gathered that the incident made supermarkets pull strawberries from the shelves, and saw farmers dump tonnes of the unwanted berry. She is to remain in custody ahead of her next appearance on November 22, court officials said.

Mr Cridland said Trinh, who required a Vietnamese interpreter in court, was an Australian citizen and had complied with all police requirements thus far.

In Queensland, where the strawberry industry is worth A$160m (£89m; $115m) a year, the local government pledged A$1m to support the state's stricken farmers.