FRESH FRUIT: Donna Flanagan from the Vege Shed is selling pin-less strawberries.
FRESH FRUIT: Donna Flanagan from the Vege Shed is selling pin-less strawberries. Aisling Brennan

Grocer hits back at strawberry crisis with 'pin-less' fruit

A MURWILLUMBAH grocer is finding the sweeter side to the controversial strawberry crisis.

In the days after people across the country found needles in strawberries, Vege Shed owner Steve Flanagan said he wanted to prove to his customers his strawberries were safe, especially after a needle was found in a strawberry purchased at Tweed Heads.

"Everyone had been asking if there were pins in the strawberries, we basically stopped selling them immediately,” Mr Flanagan said.

"I put the sign up that we've got pin-less strawberries and now people are buying lots of them.”

Mr Flanagan, who has owned the roadside fruit and vegetable store for 12 years, said he was glad people were buying strawberries again but was disappointed at the initial reaction by the industry.

"What really concerned me was the amount of strawberries that were dumped,” he said.

"Most food processing plants have metal detectors now. The strawberries have to go through a sterilisation process before they're sold.”

Mr Flanagan said the strawberry crisis had even impacted the sale of strawberry-flavoured milk, after he didn't receive any from his suppliers due to short supply of the fruit.



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