Berry sabotage prompts harsh new penalties


Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced urgent and harsh new criminal penalties for contaminating food as the ongoing strawberry needle crisis brings Australian farmers to their knees.

Mr Morrison said the “idiot” who sabotaged the strawberries had risked the livelihoods of farmers and put fear in the hearts of parents across the country.

“This is a shocking and cowardly thing for this individual and others who have jumped onto the bandwagon here to have engaged in,” he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

Anyone found guilty of contaminating food would face a maximum of 15 years in jail, up from 10 years. Additionally, anyone who piggy-backed on such a crisis by engaging in a reckless hoax would also face 10 years behind bars.

“It’s not a joke, it’s not funny, you are putting the livelihoods of hard-working Australians at risk. And you are scaring children,” Mr Morrison said. “If you do that sort of thing in this country we will come after you and we will throw the book at you. You are a coward and a grub.”

Mr Morrison wants the laws to pass parliament by the time it rises on Thursday evening.