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Australia's strawberry industry, worth A$160 million (US$116 million), was rocked in September after almost 200 complaints were made of sewing needles found in strawberries and other fruits.

A public health alert was issued on September 12 after sewing needles were found inserted in strawberries that been grown and purchased in southeast Queensland.

"The Queensland Police Service has allocated a significant amount of resources to ensure those responsible are brought to justice", Superintendent Jon Wacker said.

An Australian woman charged with placing needles in strawberries, triggering a nationwide food tampering crisis, has been refused bail.

A 50-year-old woman is being driven into the police watch-house in Brisbane, Sunday, November 11, 2018.

Although a charge has been made, Police said the case is far from over.

On Sunday, the woman was arrested and charged with seven counts contamination of goods.

Her alleged crimes came at the height of the strawberry contamination crisis that rocked Australia earlier this year.

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Authorities in all six of the country's states were investigating the tampering that has led to needles or pins being found in strawberries, apples and bananas.

Back in September, a man was admitted to hospital after he was found to have consumed needles that were contained within a strawberry.

Australia's strawberry industry was devastated after recalls of the fruit were ordered following the initial needle discovery in September and several others believed to be copycat actions.

"We reached out to our counterparts throughout Queensland and Australia, and as I said, it's 231 reports Australia-wide, so a fairly unique investigation impacting virtually every state and jurisdiction in Australia". If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in jail.

The crisis meant tonnes of strawberries were dumped or went to waste.

"There may be retribution from people seeking to locate her", Cheryl Tesch, the prosecutor, told the court. "It's a fairly unique investigation where virtually the whole of State Crime Command, over 100 members from State Crime Command undertook the investigation", Walker said.

Funds will also be given to the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association and Growcom to distribute to affected farmers.


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