True scope of strawberry crisis revealed
DETECTIVES have revealed the scope of the alleged strawberry contamination investigation.
Operation Quebec Rosella kicked off on September 9 when a man bit into a needle threaded strawberry in Brisbane
A further 231 reports of strawberry contamination were received impacting 68 brands across Australia with 49 based in Queensland
Of those 186 incidents involved needles placed in strawberries
In Queensland, there were 77 incidents of sabotage but 15 of these were hoaxes or false reports.
Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker, from the Drug and Serious Crime Group, said the investigation was "unprecedented".
"This has probably being one of the most trying investigations that I've been part of … we've worked tirelessly," he said.
"It's fairly a unique investigation with virtually the whole of State Crime Command (involved) … impacting virtually every state and jurisdiction in Australia."
Det. Supt. Wacker believed the evidence against Trinh, who was arrested yesterday in Forest Lake, was strong.
DNA will form part of the evidence, he said.
The multi-agency investigation included the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission along with police forces across the country.
"While the investigation is far from over, I would like to acknowledge the tireless effort of our investigators as well as members from all other agencies across Australia who played a role," he said.
"I would also like to thank those within the strawberry industry for their cooperation and members of the public who assisted us with our inquiries."
HOW THE CRISIS UNFOLDED
Man eats strawberry contaminated by needle in Queensland, admitted to Sunshine Coast University Hospital with abdominal pain.
Another needle found in Gladstone, along with two cases in Victoria. A mother living at Kellyville Ridge finds a pin inside a pink lady apple.
Woolworths removes the brands Berry Obsession and Berrylicious from its shelves in NSW, Queensland and Victoria. Pins found in punnets of strawberries sold at Coles Wingham and Coles Green Hills. Queensland Police announces an investigation into the contamination.
Police and health authorities encourage families to cut up their strawberries before eating, and warn of copycat cases.
Three needles discovered in a punnet of strawberries at Coles Engadine. Later that day, Coles withdraws strawberries from sales in all states except Western Australia.
NSW Police warns the people of NSW and says it has received reports of contaminated strawberries purchased at supermarkets at Tweed Heads, Taree and Wingham.
Contaminated strawberries found in Adelaide Hills.
Coles begins stocking strawberries again. Farmers begin dumping unsold strawberries,
putting the $500 million industry at risk.
Strawberry industry calls for calm in wake of tampering issue, and says the crisis has damaged the industry and cost growers millions of dollars. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announces $1 million in funding to boost the strawberry industry as farmers struggle following recent incidents of contamination.
NSW Police begin investigating a complaint about a needle that was allegedly found inside a banana at a grocery store in Condell Park. A Coles customer shopping at West Gosford discovers a needle inside a mango.
NSW Police say they are DNA testing needles and packaging to find copycat offenders after more than 50 cases of fruit sabotage have been reported in the state.House of Representative and the Senate strengthen food safety laws, with criminals guilty of contaminating fruit now facing up to 15 years in jail. Woolworths stops selling sewing needles.
New Zealand supermarket Countdown removes Australian strawberries from the shelves after a woman in Auckland finds a needle in a punnet.
Queensland Agriculture Minister Mark Furner announces the beginning of the Government-backed support package for the strawberry industry to roll out during summer.
Farm worker My Ut Trinh, 50, is arrested and charged.