18 September 2018

Contaminated strawberries, Western Australia (update #2)

The Department of Health, together with relevant local governments, is continuing to investigate strawberries implicated in the recent needle scare as reported by Western Australian Police and South Australian Police.

Environmental Health Executive Director Jim Dodds said the Department and local governments were thoroughly investigating the integrity of the food supply chain – including visiting strawberry fields and packing sheds to review production, picking, handling and distribution processes.

“As part of this process, the Department’s Food Unit is reviewing strawberry food safety systems, sourcing distribution information, and identifying whether there are any common links between the farms (i.e. are any of them packed on the same premises),” Mr Dodds said.

“Food safety and the health of consumers is a priority for the Department of Health, and we are working closely with industry to ensure that the supply chain process is sound."

The Department is also working collaboratively with WA Police and Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, at a state level, and national response teams to address the issue.

Mr Dodds reassured consumers that strawberries remain safe for purchase and consumption. However, as a precaution, all fruit should be washed and cut before eating.

If people come across a contaminated strawberry, they should notify WA Police on 131 444. Anyone who believes they have eaten a contaminated strawberry should seek medical attention.



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