WA Government Offers $100K Berry Tamperer Reward

Premier makes announcement.

WA Government Offers $100K Berry Tamperer Reward

A $100,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the conviction of anyone involved in contaminating strawberries with sewing needles in Western Australia.

Meanwhile, a metal detector has been installed at a fruit wholesaler in Perth in response to the national scare, which spread to WA over the past two days.

On Tuesday, police said they had received reports of needles being discovered with strawberries in the Perth suburbs of Kelmscott, Spearwood and Bull Creek.

It comes after a man informed the York Police Station in regional WA on Monday that he found a needle in his sink after washing locally grown and packaged strawberries, and did not recall it being there beforehand.

Premier Mark McGowan described the offenders as dropkicks, who were liable to 20 years imprisonment in WA.

"If you undertake this sort of activity you can and will be caught," he told reporters.

"Those people deserve to go to jail."

Strawberry Association WA vice president Paul Da Silva said the contamination was definitely not happening at farm level and it looked like "copy cats".

"A lot of growers are under extreme pressure at the moment. Some of them are sitting back waiting, actually not picking," he said.

At Perth's Canning Vale markets, pallets pass through a metal detector installed by AllStates Fruit and Vegetable Merchants, and the strawberries are labelled "scanned for metal contaminants" in a bid to restore confidence among consumers.

But anything can happen at the store level, spokesman Le Bach said, so the company is considering introducing improved packaging.

South Australia Police confirmed on Monday two cases of suspected contamination in WA-grown strawberries.

Mr McGowan encouraged consumers to continue buying WA strawberries.

"It's the peak of the season, they're delicious, they're tasty, you only have to take a small precaution, which is cut it in half, and you can be absolutely assured that they are completely and absolutely safe," he said.

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