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Supermarkets, Strawberry Growers Look To Metal Detectors

As the strawberry scare hits WA, growers turn to metal detectors to reassure buyers that their fruit doesn’t contain needles.

In the latest incident, a York man told police he found a needle in his sink after washing locally produced and packaged strawberries, and did not recall it being there beforehand.

The discovery comes after a seven-year-old Adelaide girl found a needle in a punnet of WA-grown strawberries purchased on Saturday from a Littlehampton supermarket.

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Strawberry Growers Association of WA President Neil Handasyde told the ABC that growers had received requests from major retailers and insurance companies that fruit should be scanned for needles.

It wasn’t just growers that are feeling the pressure to fork out up to $20K for a detector, either.

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Supermarkets were also looking into them.

"Different supermarkets are different stages of implanting that, but some certainly are in that space and others are looking at that depending on what their supply chain is and how they're managing it, but certainly that's the way it's looking," Mr Handasyde told the ABC.

"I put an order for one in and I gather that there will be a reasonably good demand, knowing that they're going into lots of states other than just Western Australia. There is lots of concern right through our industry."

Meanwhile, WA growers who supplied supermarkets were now being forced to dump stock.

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Police are investigating the finds and consumers are urged to cut up strawberries before eating them.

WA's Department of Health said it was involved in the nationwide response to the incidents.

- with AAP

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