A $100,000 reward has been offered for information on the strawberry saboteur amid fears six brands across four states have been targeted with needle insertion.
The contamination is believed to have affected the brands Berry Obsession, Berry Licious and Donnybrook.
NSW police warn fruit sold under the Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries and Oasis brands were inserted with needles by a possible copycat.
Six brands of strawberries have been pulled from supermarket shelves after sewing needles and pins were found inside the fruit
These brands are sold in Coles and Woolworths supermarkets across Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has issued the reward over concerns for growers as well as consumers.
NSW Police said in a statement late Friday that it is unknown if the contamination is related to the original Queensland incident or a copycat as the products have yet to be forensically examined.
Products sold under those labels have been pulled from shelves but it is unclear just how big the health issue has become with punnets being sold across Australia.
A health warning to throw out or cut up strawberries remains in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia as authorities hunt those responsible.
‘We’ve got to look at this as a whole, it’s a very, very broad picture and we can’t speculate in any way, shape or form,’ Queensland Acting Chief Superintendent Terry Lawrence told reporters on Friday.
On Thursday, Queensland police announced they were also investigating a suspected copycat incident after a metal rod was discovered on top of strawberries inside a plastic punnet at Coles in Gatton.
NSW police warn fruit sold under the Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries and Oasis brands were inserted with needles by a possible copycat
Police have asked consumers to pull apart the product before they bite in to the berries and take them to their local station if they are affected.
This week, a NSW mother discovered three pins hidden inside a punnet and posted images to Facebook.
Chantal Faugeras made the discovery, which comes after five confirmed contamination cases in Queensland and Victoria, when her 10-year-old daughter bit down onto the sharp piece of metal inside a strawberry on Wednesday.
Ms Faugeras said she found a further two needles inside the punnet she had bought from Coles in Wingham after she decided to squash the others as a precaution.
These brands are sold in Coles and Woolworths across Queensland, New South Wales and the ACT
A sixth case of needles being found in strawberries has come to light after a New South Wales mother said she found three pins hidden inside a punnet (one of which pictured)
Ms Faugeras notified others of the discovery in a social media post on Thursday.
Commenters on Ms Faugeras’ post were grateful for the mother’s heads-up, with one saying they had just bought four packets of strawberries from the same store.
Another said the fruit were still being stocked at the Coles Wingham branch on Friday morning.
Another said: ‘Sent my seven-year-old with this brand of strawberries this morning. Just phoned the school after a friend had warned me and the office ladies are onto it thank god.
Mother Chantal Faugeras uploaded a video of her uncovering the second and third pin after her daughter had bitten down onto the first.
Supermarkets are working with their suppliers to investigate the incident
In a statement provided to Daily Mail Australia, a Coles spokesperson said they were working with their suppliers, police and health regulators to investigate the incident.
The spokesperson said: ‘The safety of our customers is our priority and anyone concerned about their health should seek medical advice.’
‘Queensland Health has warned people should cut up all strawberries before consuming them.’
The discovery comes after five other cases of needles being found in the fruit – including one on Sunday where a man was admitted to hospital after swallowing half a sewing needle.
Queensland Police announced they had started an investigation into the contamination of strawberries on Wednesday
In another case on Thursday, Queensland mother Angela Stevenson almost gave one of the contaminated fruit to her 12-month-old daughter.
Two more affected punnets were found by people in Victoria and police reported a suspected copy-cat incident on Thursday where a small steel rod was found in a punnet in Queensland.
Queensland Police announced they had started an investigation into the contamination of strawberries on Wednesday – saying they believed the ‘Berry Obsession’ and ‘Berry Licious’ brands were those worst affected.
Queensland Strawberry Growers Association said on Wednesday they suspected ‘a disgruntled ex-employee’ may be behind the spate of incidents.
Victoria and police reported a suspected copy-cat incident on Thursday where a small steel rod was found in a punnet in Queensland