At least 100 cases of contamination were reported.
State of Queensland
At least 100 cases of contamination were reported.
CNN —  

Australian police say they have arrested a woman in connection with an investigation into needles found in supermarket strawberries earlier this year.

A 50-year-old woman was arrested Sunday after a “complex investigation” into the alleged contamination of strawberries in Queensland, the Queensland Police Service said in a statement.

She is expected to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday.

The arrest follows at least 100 reported cases of sewing needles or pins found in fruit across the country.

Fear of strawberry contamination severely damaged Australia’s multimillion dollar fruit industry.

The incidents prompted authorities in the Australian state of Queensland to issue a warning September 12, advising consumers to cut up the fruit.

The Australian government also announced tougher penalties for food tampering, increasing the maximum prison term from 10 years to 15 years.

Queensland Police said it has conducted a national investigation “with multiple government, law enforcement and intelligence agencies” – as well as a police task force in the state. The investigation is ongoing, police said.

Fear of strawberry contamination severely damaged Australia’s multimillion dollar fruit industry.

Impact on industry

Supermarkets across Australia removed large numbers of strawberries from their shelves in response to the scare. Meanwhile, some local and overseas buyers suspended the sale of Australian strawberries.

The country exports strawberries to locations including Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.

Strawberries made up 3% of Australia’s fruit exports for the year ending June 2017, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The country exports strawberries to locations including Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.