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Australians warned to cut up strawberries after people report finding needles inside

Reports out of three Aussie states have strawberry lovers checking their fresh fruit carefully.

A Queensland man posted this photo of a strawberry with a needle in it after reporting his friend swallowed one.

Contaminated punnets have been found across the country, in supermarkets in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.

The strawberry industry in the state of Queensland is worth around US$93 million (NZ$142 million) annually, and the government there announced this week that it would offer a reward of A$100,000 for anyone with information about the culprit behind the unusual attack on strawberries.

"Until advised, consumers should cut up strawberries before consuming them", Queensland Health later said in a statement posted on Twitter. "It is simply unacceptable".

Australians have also been warned to cut strawberries before eating them.

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"Whereas we would normally be selling 30 tonnes a day of locally grown strawberries to WA markets, it has dropped to 20 tonnes".

"With strawberries you need to continue picking them", he told ABC. You've got more chance of winning lotto than being affected'.

Queensland Police Service, who have launched an investigation into the potentially hazardous findings, revealed that affected brands include "Berry Obsession" and "Berry Licious", according to an update on the agency's Facebook account.

The retailer's move is meant as a precaution, after needles were found in berries in Sydney and Townsville in Far North Queensland within a 24-hour period.

Jennifer Rowling of the Queensland Strawberry Growers' Association said she believed the strawberries had been "interfered with".

"This is a serious issue and it just begs the question, how could any right-minded person want to put a baby or child or anybody's health at risk by doing such a awful act?" she said.

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