Food Defense and the Insider Threat

It was a story of strawberries, needles, and spite, and it launched a nationwide scare. In 2018, the Queensland police arrested a former strawberry farm supervisor for spiking supermarket strawberries with sewing needles, a crime that terrified consumers and crippled Australia’s strawberry industry.

Prosecutors said the offender was motivated by “spite or revenge” over a workplace grievance, and that her DNA was found on a needle recovered from a strawberry in Victoria. The episode led to more than 230 copycat incidents. That targeted attack on one company impacted an entire industry, including six strawberry brands, and several supermarket chains stopped selling the fruit in response to the scare.

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