Banana prices are set to rise as yields ease.
Banana prices are set to rise as yields ease.

FRUIT FALLOUT: Needle-laced banana found in M'boro shop

A METAL object, found in a banana at a Fraser Coast supermarket, sparked shopper panic yesterday as the fall-out from Queensland's strawberry spiking crisis continued.

The banana was allegedly in a free fruit barrel for young children at the Maryborough Coles and quickly removed from the display, along with all other contents, after it was reported.

A 62-year-old woman was last night given an adult caution and referred to support services.

Queensland police assured Fraser Coast residents that while the incident had the hallmarks of a copycat attack, it should be treated as an isolated incident.

A spokesman from the Premier's office clarified the culprit was alleged to have mental health issues.

"Police are confident no other products were contaminated in this alleged incident. It is also being treated as an isolated incident without any links to other food contamination investigations," a QPS spokesman said.

"The community is reminded that contaminating food is treated as a serious offence and a threat to public safety."

At a press conference in Brisbane yesterday, Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart told reporters "Sadly, there are those in the community who don't understand the harm they're doing and the potential for serious injury or loss of life to someone who might actually eat one of these fruits".

It comes as Queensland strawberry farmers get ready to install metal detectors in a bid to get their product back on supermarket shelves.

This follows the extraordinary strawberry sabotage saga, which has spread overseas as the search for the culprit turns into a nationwide manhunt.

Needles or pins have been found by consumers in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT.

The State Government and Queensland Health are continuing their investigations.

Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young said residents should throw out or return Berry Licious, Berry Obsession and Donnybrook-branded strawberries.

"For all other brands, our advice remains that you can continue to eat strawberries, but you should cut them up before eating," Dr Young said.

"Remember if in doubt, throw them out. Otherwise, make sure you chop before you chomp."

A $100,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible has been offered.