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Woman is rushed to hospital after biting into a strawberry 'containing a needle'

A woman has been rushed to hospital after she bit into a strawberry which allegedly contained a needle – marking the second reported sabotage case in a week. 

Erin Gelken was forced to go for tetanus injections and blood tests after she pricked her tongue on a strawberry she bought at Aldi in Port Pirie, South Australia.

Ms Gelken and her partner Mitchell Thomas were ‘shaken up’ following the alleged contamination, Nine News reported.

South Australian couple Erin Gelken and Mitchell Thomas were "shaken up" following the alleged strawberry contamination

South Australian couple Erin Gelken and Mitchell Thomas were ‘shaken up’ following the alleged strawberry contamination








This is the second time South Australian shoppers have allegedly found needles in their strawberries this week. 

Mr Thomas said Ms Gelken bit the first one and was ‘fine’ but was pierced after she attempted to eat a second strawberry.

‘It’s absolutely abhorrent, it’s not good for the industry, these are industry killers,’ Mr Thomas said.

The couple said they have reported the incident to Queensland Health and the police, with the latter seizing the strawberries and needle as evidence. 

They bought the strawberries on Tuesday.   

The other alleged case of sabotage occurred after Anne Lentakis purchased a punnet of Berry Indulgence from a Foodland in Stirling, Adelaide Hills, on Thursday. 

Ms Gelken was forced to go for tetanus injections and blood tests after she pricked her tongue on a strawberry she bought at Aldi in Port Pirie, South Australia

Ms Gelken was forced to go for tetanus injections and blood tests after she pricked her tongue on a strawberry she bought at Aldi in Port Pirie, South Australia

Mr Thomas said Ms Gelken bit the first one and was "fine" but was pierced after she attempted to eat a second strawberry. "It's absolutely abhorrent, it's not good for the industry, these are industry killers," Mr Thomas said

Mr Thomas said Ms Gelken bit the first one and was ‘fine’ but was pierced after she attempted to eat a second strawberry. ‘It’s absolutely abhorrent, it’s not good for the industry, these are industry killers,’ Mr Thomas said

Ms Lentakis told ABC Radio she and her 11-year-old son had been cutting the fruit for an afternoon snack when they came across the contaminated strawberry.

‘He cut one strawberry and found a pin deep inside the strawberry,’ she said.

‘He said to me, “Mum, I think there’s a pin in my strawberry”.’

The distraught mother said her eight-year-old son later found another needle planted in a different strawberry.

Ms Lentakis has since notified the fruit and vegetable store of the find and it has pulled the Berry Indulgence brand from its shelves. 

‘I think there have been things put in place since this happened before with metal scanning, so that was a bit confusing to wonder how and why this could happen but [he was] very appreciative that I had called him,’ she said.

‘He had jumped on the phone and activated their procedures.’

South Australia police are reportedly investigating the incident.








Ms Lentakis told ABC Radio she and her 11-year-old son had been cutting the fruit for an afternoon snack when they came across the contaminated strawberry

Ms Lentakis told ABC Radio she and her 11-year-old son had been cutting the fruit for an afternoon snack when they came across the contaminated strawberry

A national health crisis was sparked in September 2018 when sewing needles were discovered inside strawberries on sale at major supermarkets.

The contamination scare saw supermarkets pull punnets from their shelves and farmers dump the fruit by the truckload. 

Some consumers were reluctant to purchase strawberries and the decline in demand had a significant impact on producers.

The estimated farm gate value of Queensland strawberries had declined by 8 per cent for 2018 to 2019, worth around $12million.  

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