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Strawberry needle sabotage – what a drama!

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20 September 2018

Let me start by saying what a cruel act with grave and dangerous consequences. Since the story broke a few days ago, I have been trying to understand what has driven someone to act in such a dreadful way. I don’t seem to be the only person asking the same question.

The wastage which has resulted from the tampering is horrendous. What makes this even worse is that there are now many locations in Australia that have been affected by the tampering. And now, copycat acts have been replicated with apples and bananas.

This new man-made crisis arising from someone’s stupid and callous act has been likened by the Prime Minister to an ‘act of terrorism’.

What motivates someone to behave in such a way and what are the consequences? The impact has been so far reaching because of the fear which it has created in the community. People are scared to buy contaminated fruit and to be injured by swallowing a needle unknowingly.

So, there are two aspects of the crime. The first aspect is the financial impact on the growers who have suffered loss of an enormous amount of crop to remove the contaminated products. The second aspect is the psychological impact on the community at large who are fearful of the contaminated products.

Did the culprit(s) understand that the consequences of their action would be so great? No-one has been caught and the government has been quick to reply regarding increasing the penalties for such behaviour and committing to further forensic investigation to catch the perpetrators. I think that the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison’s response probably reflects what people are thinking about the culprits and the penalties which should be imposed on people who are caught committing this offence. He said, “Some idiot, for his own reasons, has engaged in an act of sabotage it would seem, and that has put all of that risk for these people out there having a go.”

Woolworths has temporarily withdrawn needles from shelves in response.

Penny Lane Bar & Cafe have decided to act cautiously but not to remove strawberries or any other fruit from our menu. At the end of the day, all our fruit is cut-up so there is no need to act fearfully and to stop eating strawberries or any other fruit because of some idiotic act. There’s no change here. We hope that the way that we are responding is the same as many others and that the impact on the growers can be curtailed. We hope that you agree?

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