‘Strawberry terrorism’ hit
Urging Australians to make a strawberry pavlova this weekend to help struggling farmers, Scott Morrison demanded a change in the law to put the perpetrators behind bars for 15 years. “We’re not mucking about,” said Morrison, after at least 20 pieces of fruit were found to be contaminated with needles or pins. “This is not just not on in this country,” he said. Calling the perpetrator a “coward and a grub,” Morrison called on parliament to quickly raise the maximum sentence for such deliberate food contamination from 10 to 15 years behind bars. That, he said, would put the crime on par with “things like possessing child pornography and financing terrorism. That’s how seriously I take this.” The scare has prompted a slew of supermarket recalls, and some stores in New Zealand have temporarily banned the sale of Australian strawberries. Farmers have been forced to pulp fruit and layoff pickers because of slower sales and lower wholesale prices.