Alleged Strawberry Contaminator In Court

She's spent the night behind bars

11 November 2018

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The first person charged over the strawberry needle crisis is due to face a Brisbane court after spending the night behind bars.

The 50-year-old woman is expected to front Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday morning on seven charges of goods contamination, police say.

It comes exactly two months after Queensland Health officials issued a safety warning when sewing needles were found hidden inside a strawberry punnet.

Dozens more needle discoveries in strawberries, apples and other fruit in all six states sparked the months-long, multi-jurisdiction investigation led by Queensland police.

Police say the accused woman faces a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted, as one charge alleges aggravation.

Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker said the investigation was "major and unprecedented ... with a lot of complexities involved".

"The Queensland Police Service has allocated a significant amount of resources to ensure those responsible are brought to justice," he said in a statement on Sunday.

"While the investigation is far from over, I would like to acknowledge the tireless effort of our investigators as well as members from all other agencies across Australia who played a role."

The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association welcomed the woman's arrest and called for copycats to face charges too.

"It was a crisis driven by social media and the only real victims were the strawberry growers, and to some extent other Australian fruit growers and exporters," it said in a statement.

A South Australian man was charged in September over making a false strawberry contamination report to local police, while police have spoken to children in Western Australia and NSW over similar copycat incidents.

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