Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has made the confronting announcement that well over 100 reported cases of potential fruit contamination are being investigated, with many of them likely being inspired by the first drongo to stick sewing needles into strawberries.
Speaking in Canberra, Dutton added the efforts of state and federal law enforcement agencies to track down the saboteurs responsible for the contamination have been hampered by people faking it for social media clout.
“It is a great frustration when the investigators are trying to track down the main perpetrator, and we’re getting hoaxes and copycats bring up information online that means police deviate across to that line of enquiry,” Dutton said.
.@PeterDutton_MP on the strawberry crisis: There are now over 100 cases of a report of fruit being contaminated. We believe a lot of these will be hoaxes, it is a diversion of resource when we want to be finding true culprits.
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) September 19, 2018
Dutton’s press conference comes hours after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced he wants to bump up the maximum sentence for anyone found to be contaminating Australia’s foodstuffs from 10 to 15 years in prison.
He also voiced his intention to establish a new charge related to sabotaging fruit, specifically.
“You are putting the livelihoods of hard-working Australians at risk and you are scaring children, and you are a coward and a grub,” Morrison said.
Yesterday, WA Premier Mark McGowan offered a $100,000 reward to anyone with information leading to the arrest of the gronks responsible for the contamination, mirroring an earlier pledge made by the QLD Government.
A $1 million fund has also been announced by the Federal Government to assist growers impacted by the ongoing crisis. Just as well, too, considering farmers in Queensland have been forced to dump entire crops as a recall remains in place in much of the nation.
The takeaway from all of this: don’t stick things in berries, you fools.