Copycats may be responsible for new cases of food contamination in South Australia where needles and thumbtacks have been found in fruit and other food items at two supermarkets.

On Tuesday, a thumbtack was found in strawberries purchased from the Goolwa Foodland, south of Adelaide.

That followed the discovery of needles in strawberries and in an avocado, and thumbtacks in a loaf of bread, at a Woolworths outlet in Adelaide’s northeast between June 27 and July 1.

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said a dedicated team has been established to investigate the incidents.

“We don’t want to see this become a trend,” he said.

“The potential for copycat is significant and the impact on industry is significant.

“We are dedicating resources to identify the people responsible.”


Officers are checking CCTV footage from both stores and checking for links.

There were no reported injuries.

SA’s latest cases follow more than 100 reports of food contamination across the country in 2018 when strawberries were also targeted with needles.

Many of those were thought to be fake or copycat cases.

In one, a 34-year-old SA man was charged with making a false report after telling police his daughter had bit into a strawberry with a needle.

The scare prompted the federal government to lift penalties for food tamperers who could now face up to 15 years in jail if found guilty.