Needle found in contaminated orange by girl, 4
JUST when you thought the contaminated fruit epidemic was over, along came another case overnight.
A shocked family from Casula in Sydney's southwest found a needle in an orange they purchased from a Woolworths earlier today.
Four-year-old Maddie Sheridan found the needle after getting a piece of fruit from her mum, 7 News reports.
The supermarket confirmed the find and notified police.
"We're shocked. We feel violated," Maddie's mum said.
Investigators will now work to determine when the orange may have been contaminated, as it may have been in storage for several weeks.
It's been almost two months since the initial sabotage began in Queensland, which related to the Berry Obsession, Berry Licious and Donnybrook brands.
By mid-September, all six states were investigating reports of tampering in strawberries, apples and bananas.
The disturbing trend attracted global attention, with police fearing a spate of copycat attacks had seen the crisis extend beyond the original single grower in Queensland.
Exporters have now been told they must prove their fruit has been cleared through a metal detector or x-ray machine before the federal Department of Agriculture will issue a permit.
A metal detector was installed at a fruit wholesaler in Western Australia in September.
In October, a 12-year-old boy from Melbourne almost swallowed a "piece of thick wire" hidden inside a cucumber.
"As soon as he came out of his room he said: 'Mum I found a needle in it'," the boy's mother Maria told 3AW's Tom Elliot last month.
"I said: 'come on stop joking' and he goes: 'Mum, I'm not joking' and showed it to me.
"I was just beside myself … It looked as though it had been snapped with some pliers … it was curled on one end of it."
Maria said her son was "pricked" by the wire but that it "didn't penetrate him".
"He was so upset … he said, 'Mum if I had swallowed it could I have died?'" she said.
"He was just so worried … he was panicking.
"I just feel I don't know what the world is coming to … (I'm) too scared to buy food, (I) don't know what to do anymore."
WA Premier Mark McGowan described the offenders as dropkicks who were liable to 20 years' imprisonment.
"If you undertake this sort of activity you can and will be caught," he told reporters in September.
"Those people deserve to go to jail."
The NSW Police Force has likewise warned copycats that food contamination carries a jail sentence of up to 10 years.