Boy arrested in Australia after admitting to putting needles in strawberries

Sky News Australia  YoutubeAustralians are finding needles in their store-bought strawberries

But while authorities across the affected states work to find the people responsible for the interfered-with fruit, the Guardian reports the contamination scare has spread, and that all states could now be affected.

A boy has been arrested in Australia after admitting he put needles in strawberries as a "prank". "What you get 15 years for is things like possessing child pornography and financing terrorism".

"And you are a coward and a grub".

"If Australians can just go back to loving the strawberries and buying strawberries, of course taking the necessary precautions, then I would urge them to do that and be careful how they go about it", he said.

Police said a man in the state of Western Australia and a girl in South Australia reported finding needles in their strawberries in the past two days, broadening the health scare to all six Australian states.

Morrison said on Wednesday that new laws were required to punish the people contaminating food.

"There's been metal detectors purchased and tamper-proof packaging looked at", he said.

Australian Agriculture Minister Mark Furner met with farmers at Beerwah in Queensland on Monday night, and wrote to his federal, state and territory counterparts for support.

The Federal Government has already announced $1 million to help deal with the crisis, fast-track product recalls and to detect contamination.

Queensland police strawberries
Australia strawberry scare as hidden sewing needles found in fruit across the country

Authorities said the sabotage was "putting families' lives at risk and a 100,000 Australian dollar reward has been offered for information".

Seven brands of strawberries in Australia are now believed to be contaminated with needles and pins, according to police reports.

Stephanie Chheang says her mother and stepfather work for Donnybrook Berries - one brand affected by the scare that was on Friday pulled from Australian shelves.

Announcing the fund in Parliament on Tuesday morning, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the past week had seen Queensland become the victim of an "ugly, calculated and despicable crime".

There have now been nine confirmed cases of strawberries found with needles in them and one consumer has been hospitalised, the ABC reported.

Others fear the rising number of cases is down to copycats. Queensland is a major strawberry producer in a national industry worth more than A$130 million ($93.22 million) a year.

There have been 20 contamination incidents reported across NSW alone, spanning the state from Tweed Heads to Albury.

"This a vicious crime, it's created to injure, and possibly worse, members of the population at large", said Hunt, according to ABC.

Under the changes, the penalty will be increased from 10 to 15 years jail, and a new offence of "recklessness" will be implemented, with imprisonment of up to 10 years.

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