Australian strawberry farming is a 160 million USD strong industry. Modern logistics make strawberry one of the well-known export commodity. Weather anomalies and pests are risk factors to consider. Pest can be as small as nematodes and as big as teenager who sabotaged the entire branch of economy by putting ‘sharp metal objects’ at local stores in the produce.
There was a hundred reports about fruits with metal needles in strawberries sold in local stores. It caused panic across the country. Customers also reported on sharp metal objects in bananas and apples. As panic spread copycats emerged.
Australian police detained a minor who has put metal pins in strawberries and other fruit ‘just for fun’, Sky News reported citing law enforcers. The teenager, whose identity is not disclosed, confessed to the gag and described his actions as “prank”. The police continue to search for other dangerous pranksters.
It is specified that his actions caused devastating damage to farms. Strawberry farmers stated that they have been forced to dump and pulp produce, prompting fears for an industry. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called on the country’s legislators to raise penalties for the contamination of fruit up to 15 years in prison.
“Sabotaging our strawberries is sabotaging our farmers. It’s not right. It’s not on. It’s a crime,” Scott said on Twitter.