In response to a recent scare, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced tougher penalties for those caught tampering with fruit.
The Prime Minister has used the words “grub” and “coward” to describe people who have hidden needles inside strawberries. He went on to urge people to continue supporting Australian farmers by buying strawberries with caution.
Contaminated strawberries have been detected across 5 states with several investigations still active. A $100,000 reward has been offered by the West Australian Government for information on the matter.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said that around 100 people had called in about contaminated strawberries, but added that many of them may be false alarms.
Mr Morrison has said that tougher laws are needed to deter other would-be offenders, including an increase of the maximum jail sentence for contaminating food from 10 to 15 years.
He also said he would introduce a new offence of ‘recklessly contaminating fruit’ which would carry similar penalties.
The Prime Minister said that the new laws were being drafted and that he wanted them to be passed through Parliament within the week.
Joel Fitzgibbon, the Shadow Agriculture Minister, has said Labor would support the new laws, saying “it looks reasonable”.