A Fruit Scare

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When you think about heading to the grocery store, you probably don’t think about accidentally swallowing sharp objects, well….. perhaps you should think again. A new dilemma has risen causing panic over everyday grocery shopping. It all started when people in New Zealand had reported finding small sewing needles… no this is not a drill! People have found actual needles in their strawberries. Many more cases of needles in strawberries appeared, especially in Australia where over a hundred incidents have been reported. Although this may seem like a minor inconvenience to some, the idea of swallowing needles is not the most pleasant thing I could think of.

“Well it just proves that there is something between the fruit growing on the farm and bringing them to us” – Anonymous Student 

News Report on Fruit Sabotage, Photo Source: Business Insider SG

Not only is this a health concern, but there are also detrimental impacts to the economy. Tons of strawberries have been dumped out after a few people reported finding needles in their product. Australia’s produce is a multimillion dollar industry, the estimated worth of their strawberry industry is around $160 million, making this situation highly inimical to the economy and the lives of farmers. Locals of Australia have tried to aid the backlash that the farmers were afraid to receive and have suggested to cut up strawberries before eating them instead of avoiding the purchase altogether. The government in Australia had also offered a large sum of money as a reward to people who had information on how the needles appeared. If offering money doesn’t show how seriously the government is taking the issue then perhaps the fact that they also changed the laws regarding the maximum prison sentence of food contamination to 15 years, should prove a point.

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Australian Prime Minister, Photo Source: The Australian

Before you completely disregard this dilemma, you should know that recently the matter has reached Singapore,. Fair Price fears that the needle scare will hit their grocery stores and has stopped all imports coming from Australia. According to Business Insider SG, a local has seen a thin wire in a basket of strawberries. Although this situation is not completely the same as it creates a similar problem. This has caused Fair Price to cut off their imports with Australia and Sheng Siong to put their strawberry punnets through metal detectors. Although this technically is a local problem, not many people actually know that it reached our little island or even knew about it at all.  After I asked a few students in Singapore if they heard about these issues, many responded that they hadn’t. But they certainly were was curious about it. Most of the people who have heard about it have reacted to the situation by not eating or purchasing strawberries.

Strawberries Going Trough Metal Detectors, Photo Credit: Daily Mail

There has been no complete proof on how this problem began, however, many people have different theories. Most people believe that it was all just a prank of people contaminating food. One student states, “I don’t think people are intentionally putting needles in our fruits, I think there is a mix up in the….. well it just proves that there is something between growing them on a farm and bringing them to us.” Scott Morrison, the prime minister of Australia, spoke up about this issue explaining that “someone has engaged in an act of sabotage.” Several other politicians also voiced their inputs and claimed that there had been copycat events that caused the issue to spread rapidly A young person in Australia had admitted to putting needles in fruit but supposedly was just recreating the original prank. No one knows who started this all, however with how seriously the issue has been treated, hopefully, it will all end soon.

Author: Cassandra Lundsgaard

Cassandra Lundsgaard is currently a senior, and this is her second year as a reporter for The Eye. She was born and raised in China but is originally half Danish and half Singaporean. In her free time, she typically procrastinates by “accidentally” spending hours on Netflix, as well as napping during unreasonable hours. She can be contacted at lundsgaard770785@sas.edu.sg

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