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‘We can’t let the saboteurs win’: Alan Jones calling on Australians to buy strawberries

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“We can’t let the saboteurs win. But they are winning if we don’t buy strawberries. They’re winning if we send these strawberry growers to the dole.”

Alan Jones is calling on Australians to keep buying strawberries amid the contamination crisis.

Some farmers are dumping up to $10,000 worth of the fruit each day after needles were planted in punnets across the country.

“We have to support the farmers. We’ve got to buy strawberries. And the corporate world in this has been gutless,” he says.

Police are now investigating as many as 100 reports of tampering, with one child admitting to putting a needle into a piece of fruit as a prank.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will also increase the penalty for food tampering to 15 years in jail as farmers battle to survive the strawberry sabotage scandal.

Queensland grower Aidan Young tells Alan “it’s extremely difficult”.

“My father’s been growing strawberries for 40 years and I’ve been in it for ten and this is by far the most difficult thing we’ve ever had to go through.”

He says his family has had to dump strawberries because there’s no market for them, but in order to encourage the next crop, they need to continue to pick the product.

“As soon as we stop picking the plant, it stops producing the strawberry.”

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On average, Aidan’s farm sends 20,000 punnets a day to major fruit wholesalers across Sydney and Brisbane.

This week, Aidan has sent less than 10,000 punnets each day.

“Prices were extremely low in the first place and then to have this on top of it has just made it absolutely unbearable.”

He tells Alan he and other farmers have no idea of where or how the problem originated.

On the suggestion of implementing metal detectors at farms, Aidan says it’s not that simple.

“It’s an added cost to the farmers that a lot of guys can’t afford. And we do everything to make sure we know our fruit is 100 per cent safe when it leaves our farm.”