Ex-farm supervisor charged over Australia strawberry sabotage

Police Arrest 50-Year-Old Woman Over Strawberry Needle Contamination

The first discovery of contaminated strawberries was first announced by Queensland police in early September, and triggered a spate of copycat incidents across the country.

The 50-year-old woman worked as a supervisor of fruit pickers at the Berry Licious or Berry Obsession farm - which was traced back as the source of the needle contamination, the Courier-Mail reported.

"The (Queensland Police Service) coordinated a national investigative response with multiple government, law enforcement and intelligence agencies", they added in a statement.

A police taskforce was established with officers from the State Crime Command co-ordinating the investigation together with detectives in a number of police districts in Queensland.

Police investigating a major Australian strawberry needle contamination scare that sparked nationwide panic on Monday identified a former farm supervisor as their main suspect.

Superintendent Wacker said the case was finally broken open upon information received by Victoria Police as part of the interstate investigation.

My Ut Trinh is charged with seven counts of aggravated contamination of goods.

It was alleged in court that My Ut Trinh's actions arose in retaliation to a workplace grievance, sparking recalls that devastated the industry in Australia after needles were found in strawberries in all six of Australia's states, a court has heard.

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Back in September, a man was admitted to hospital after he was found to have consumed needles that were contained within a strawberry.

She faces jail for up to 10 years if found guilty after the conservative government toughened sentencing in a bid to contain the crisis.

She had fruit stuck in New Zealand and Singapore at the peak of the crisis, which she was unable to sell.

Queensland police released few details in their arrest announcement on Sunday and did not speculate on a motive. She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted, officials said.

The crisis caused supermarkets to frantically pull stocks of strawberries and other fruit from their shelves, while farmers were forced to dump berries as demand plummeted.

Queensland police handled more than 230 reports of fruit sabotage across Australia, across 68 brands.

Thewoman has had her bail application withdrawn and will reappear in court on November 22.

Funds will also be given to the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association and Growcom to distribute to affected farmers.

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