Barnaby Joyce has called for a substantial reward to hunt down those behind the strawberry needle contamination crisis.
The high profile Nationals MP says the criminals responsible must be “pursued and hunted down”, arguing anyone withholding information is also committing a crime by not reporting it.
“The reward… has to be substantially increased to hunt this person down,” Mr Joyce told the Nine Network on Wednesday. “It is not only a threat to the strawberry industry, it is a threat across the food production industry. We have got to treat it as such.”
Deputy Nationals Leader Bridget McKenzie also urged police in each jurisdiction affected to catch the strawberry saboteurs.
“I just think it’s absolutely disgusting that somebody in our community thinks this is a good idea to actually put needles in our fabulously clean and green produce,” Ms McKenzie told reporters. “It will be stopping mums and dads from purchasing strawberries.”
Mr Joyce pleaded for supermarket chains to continue to stock strawberries as an act of defiance. “We can show our support for the industries by buying strawberries,” he said. “If we just take them off the shelves, we are saying to this person, ‘you succeeded – your criminal act succeeded’.”
The federal government is putting $1 million towards helping fast track recalls and increase detection of sabotage.