In the past few weeks, Australia has experienced over a hundred reports of needles found in strawberries. The reports came from consumers who had purchased the produce from grocers. This past week in New Zealand, the same tampering was discovered. In response, New Zealand and Australia have both pulled Australian strawberries. And Australian Woolworth stores have pulled sewing needles to help curtail the threat.
The incidents bring to mind the media reports of razor blades and pins in apples handed out as treats on Halloween. On Halloween of the 2000, a Minneapolis man placed needles in Snicker bars and then handed out the candy to children. A single 14-yr-old was pricked, but did not require medical attention.
Sadly, media reports may leave the impression that dangers are significant when such occurrences are reported. But Halloween candy poisonings are urban legend.
Poisoned candy myths have been mostly debunked, though in 1959 a California dentist gave candy coated laxative pills to trick or treaters. The dentist was charged with unlawful dispensing of drugs.
Nationwide, Halloween of 1982 was a year rampant with Halloween scare stories. That year saw a number of tragic and random non-Halloween poisonings of both foodstuffs and medicines, including the Tylenol poisonings that killed seven people. The aftermath of the Tylenol poisonings included a sudden spate of Halloween tampering reports.