Strawberry sabotage: The investigation continues
"WE'RE in a predicament right now because how do you deal with this?"
Thanh Dang of SSS Strawberries has spoken of the positive awareness that needs to be spread in light of the contaminated strawberry epidemic.
Queensland strawberry farmers are feeling the heat after the recent outbreak of needle-contaminated strawberries has caused concern for shoppers.
There are reports some panicked Queensland strawberry farmers are arranging meetings with their banks as fears grow that their loans will be called in amid the nationwide strawberry sabotage crisis.
Meanwhile, Pauline Hanson has written to Agriculture Minister David Littleproud to say the farmers are "victims of terrorism" and should be eligible for a $75,000 payment that is offered to Australians under those circumstances.
Mr Dang said certain reactions to this "silly act" would encourage more people to copy the idea.
"We want to combat this somehow and it's really hard," Mr Dang said.
"It's important that we actually come together and say 'look this is not affecting us and we have a support for farmers'."
SSS Strawberries will be holding what is hoped to become an annual Bundaberg Strawberry Festival this weekend and said the recent outbreak had not deterred customers.
"We've been getting such an overwhelming support from everybody that comes to the farm for the last few days, there's people that I haven't seen for years that have come," Mr Dang said.
He said farmers and the community had to work together to ensure this didn't happen to other fresh produce.
"We all know it's not the farmers and it's heartbreaking to know that the ones who are affected have to close their doors now and it's something that nobody wants," he said.
"It would be great for Bundy to come out and support (the festival) to make a statement to, for lack of a better word, those copycats or those hooligans."
Berry licious, Berry Obsession and Donnybrook branded strawberries have been targeted with needles being discovered within their strawberries across Australia.
Queensland's chief health officer Dr Jeanette Young said anyone who has strawberries by the contaminated brands should dispose of them or return them.
"Remember if in doubt, throw them out.
"Otherwise, make sure you chop before you chomp," Dr Young said.
Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.