Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said those caught piercing supermarket strawberries with needles are comparable to people guilty of possessing child pornography or financing terrorism.
"We've taken the precautionary step of temporarily removing sewing needles from sale in our stores across the country", the supermarket told the BBC. The safety of our customers is our top priority, ' a Woolworths spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia.
"Obviously in the last few days we found a young person has admitted to a prank, including putting needles in strawberries, and he'll be dealt with under the youth cautioning system", he said.
Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Labor MP Susan Templeman eat strawberry pancakes after preparing them together with Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek and shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, September 20, 2018.
Consumers in Queensland were the first to report finding needles embedded inside strawberries.
Woolworths could not say for how long they would keep their sewing needles from sale.
"A member of the public today presented at York Police Station to report his concerns that a needle had been in a punnet of strawberries", the Western Australian police said in a statement.
A needle was found in an apple. Channel 7 News
Australian police said the contaminated fruit appeared to have originated at a Queensland-based supplier.
"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".
The government is rushing legislation through parliament to ratchet up the maximum penalties for so-called "food terrorists" from 10 to 15 years behind bars.
The boy, whose name has not been disclosed because of his age, confessed to putting the sewing needles in strawberries as a prank and is not believed to be the culprit behind other fruit contaminations in the region, New South Wales police authorities told ABC News.
In NSW the maximum penalty for deliberately contaminating a food source is 10 years in jail. "Stick it up these parasites by going into the supermarkets and buying strawberries".
"It's not amusing, putting the livelihoods of hard-working Australians at risk", the prime minister told reporters in Canberra.
'This is a disgusting act created to instil fear in consumers and to undermine our agricultural industry'.