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  1. ITV Report

Australia strawberry needle crisis spreads to New Zealand

Needles had already been discovered in strawberries across all six Australian states. Credit: Channel 7

The widespread concern over needles found in tampered boxes of strawberries across Australia has spread to New Zealand.

The Countdown supermarket chain in New Zealand said it has taken a brand of Australian strawberries off its shelves after needles were found at one of its stores.

"Needles were found in a punnet of strawberries sourced from Western Australia, which was bought in a Countdown supermarket in Auckland," the company announced on Sunday.

"As an extra precaution and following similar advice from public health authorities in Australia, customers should cut up any Australian strawberries before eating them."

Australian police have already issued a public health warning after needles were discovered in strawberries across all six of the country's states.

The Australian government has launched an investigation to restore confidence in the popular fruit. Credit: Channel 7

Sewing needles were initially found in punnets of the fruit in Queensland last week, but the problem has since spread.

A boy as young as nine was among those to make the unpleasant discovery whilst eating, although no injuries have so far been reported.

Authorities said the sabotage was "putting families' lives at risk and a 100,000 Australian dollar (£56,700) reward has been offered for information leading to the culprits.

Growers are now turning to metal detectors and the Australian government has launched an investigation to restore confidence in the popular fruit.