Strawberry sabotage: Greg Hunt orders investigation into 'vicious crime'

Coles and Aldi supermarkets have pulled all strawberries from their shelves across the country, except Western Australia, as a precaution over needle contamination fears.

NSW Police and Queensland Police are investigating whether the latest needles found in strawberries are the work of a copycat, or related to the original incidents.

A customer made the discovery while eating fruit from a punnet of Mal's Black Label strawberries, South Australia Police said.

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

"I have not been contacted at all", she said.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has ordered the national food safety watchdog to assess the state's handling of strawberry contamination.

It is the first time needles have been discovered in strawberries in NSW after four contaminated punnets were discovered in Queensland and Victoria in recent days.

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The issue came to light last week when a man was taken to hospital with stomach pains after eating the fresh produce bought at a supermarket in Queensland state.

"Regretfully, preventing random acts of extremism, sabotage and simple maliciousness from people with a grudge appears to be an increasing challenge across our society".

They have yet to reveal possible motives but the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association said a disgruntled former worker might be responsible.

Consumers have also been asked to take any contaminated product down to their local police station for forensic testing.

"We've got to look at this as a whole, it's a very, very broad picture and we can't speculate in any way, shape or form", Queensland Acting Chief Superintendent Terry Lawrence said.

Police are urging anyone who may have purchased a punnet of Mal's Black Label strawberries from Foodland at Littlehampton, a small town in the Adelaide Hills, to check the product prior to consumption.

NSW police say they are continuing to liaise with retailers to ensure that all stock from the affected date has been removed from sale.

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