A Southern Tasmanian woman allegedly discovered a needle inside her strawberries after her daughter took a bite out of the fruit and found the foreign object.
The Pinata brand strawberries had been purchased from Woolworths at Rosny Park on Sunday and the mother posted a photo of the product with the needle inside on social media.
She was then contacted by police who are now investigating along with Public Health Tasmania.
There were suggestions on social media the needle was planted and the claims were false after the woman removed the post.
But Detective acting Inspector David Richardson said there was no information to suggest the Southern Tasmanian case was a hoax.
He could not, however, rule out the possibility.
“It would form part of this investigation and indeed any other investigation,” he said.
The woman has since made a statutory declaration, and Detective acting Inspector Richardson said if a person made a false statutory declaration to police they would face criminal charges.
“She is obviously distressed by what has occurred,” he said.
“She reported it on social media, we have responded to that and we have spoken to her twice in the last 12 hours or so.”
Detective acting Inspector Richardson said the key message for customers and retailers was to contact police if they suspected contamination.
It is the only reported case of strawberry contamination in Tasmania and comes after needles were found in berries distributed by at least six brands across Australian within the past week.
On Tuesday, Queensland Police confirmed it was also investigating the discovery of a metal object found inside a banana.
Public Health Tasmania acting director Dr Scott McKeown said the department was working with Tasmania Police as well as Public Health in Queensland, where the first case of strawberry contamination was reported.
“National authorities have had experience with contaminated products previously and we’re working very closely, particularly with Queensland health and their food safety people, to ensure we can identify where contaminated product has been circulated so we can keep the public safe,” he said.
Queensland Police have already confirmed the brands Berry Obsession, Berrylicious and Donnybrook were contaminated.
Police suspect three further brands, Love Berry, Delightful Strawberries and Oasis, were also contaminated.
“We do understand that some of the original three farms that were named, some of that product is likely to have come to Tasmania,” Dr McKeown said.
“At this time of year, most of our strawberries that are in Tasmania do come from interstate suppliers.”
Responding to news of potential banana contamination, Dr McKeown said the “primary concern” was still strawberries.
“If more evidence comes to light … then that information will be shared … and we’ll respond appropriately,” he said.
The Tasmanian strawberry season opens next month and Fruit Growers Tasmania chief executive Stuart Burgess said local producers were awaiting further information about the national issue.
He said a meeting involving key industry stakeholders was being held in Queensland on Monday night.
"We will know more after that,” he said.
"Queensland Strawberries Growers Association are directly involved, as are the Queensland government and Queensland Health.
“We don't want to preempt the process, but from an industry perspective we will await the feedback from that meeting.
"Any measures implemented we would support as safety is front and centre leading into the upcoming season."
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