‘Scary’: Girl, 10, finds needle in strawberry from CQ store

A Blackwater mum was horrified to discover a needle inside the strawberry her 10-year-old daughter had just bitten into.

Bec Callow was sitting out the back of her Blackwater home on Monday night when her middle daughter Zoe called out, "mum, there's something in my strawberry".

"There's probably a needle in it", Mrs Callow joked to herself, thinking back to the 2018 Australian strawberry contamination scandal, and was "gobsmacked" when she saw the silver needle poking out of the remaining fruit.

"I immediately panicked," she told CQ News.

"Was she okay? Did she bite it off? Did she cut her mouth? Were there more needles?

"I was absolutely gobsmacked."

Zoe and Bec Callow.
Zoe and Bec Callow.

Mrs Callow said normally her daughter would eat the whole strawberry at once, but was slowed down due to it being frozen.

"I also have a five-year-old who throws them down like there's no tomorrow, so lucky he didn't get his hands on it," she said.

"It's a bit scary and horrendous to think we're getting needles in strawberries."

The mother of three purchased two punnets of strawberries from Woolworths Blackwater on April 8 to make a birthday cake for her husband.

The leftover fruit was put in the freezer, before Zoe pulled them out on Monday night, April 19.

"We'd been eating cake for days and we didn't have an issue," Mrs Callow said.

"Out of two punnets we had one with a needle.

"You'd never expect something like this in Blackwater.

"I just want to get to the bottom of it and warn other parents to cut the fruit up."

Mrs Callow wanted to warn parents and other fruit consumers to cut fruit up before eating it, especially before giving it to children.

"Anyone could've had it. Imagine if a baby or toddler got that, it's just really scary," she said.

"It's scary to think what might have happened if [Zoe] didn't see it."

The Callow children used the strawberries as part of a birthday cake for their father Luke.
The Callow children used the strawberries as part of a birthday cake for their father Luke.

A miner at Blackwater, Mrs Callow said when posting it to her Facebook page, a friend in Blackall revealed she also had a strawberry with a needle inside recently.

According to her comment, the woman was cutting strawberries up for her bird when she found the needle, although it was not revealed where the fruit was purchased from.

A Woolworths spokesman said the business had launched an investigation into the incident and was doing everything it could to ensure no other produce was affected.

"We're aware of a customer report of product tampering at our Blackwater store," he said.

"We will assist Queensland Police and food authorities with CCTV footage from the store to assist with their investigation.

"We've also commenced our own investigation in line with our established food safety procedures.

"We're unaware of any other reports of a similar nature at this time."

Mrs Callow notified the Blackwater store on Tuesday morning, and as extra precaution, staff inspected punnets of strawberries in the store, with no further evidence of tampering or contamination.

Woolworths is in contact with Mrs Callow to further the investigation. At this stage it is uncertain the brand of the strawberries purchased.

Anyone caught contaminating or tampering with food can face imprisonment of up to 10 years, following new legislation passed in 2018.

Originally published as 'Scary': Girl, 10, finds needle in strawberry from CQ store