BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Strawberry imports from Australia will continue despite a needle contamination scare that has caused widespread consumer panic.

In a statement issued Sunday, Brunei’s Department of Agriculture and Agrifood (DAA) said it has been monitoring strawberry imports and results show that the sultanate does not import strawberries from any of the Australian companies affected by the contamination.

“The import of strawberries from Australia is still allowed within the continued controls and monitoring alongside close cooperation with the competent authority from the exporting country,” the DAA said.

Australian exporters have now been told they must prove their fruit has been cleared through a metal detector or x-ray machine before the authorities will issue a permit.

The country’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) has assured that strawberries imported into Brunei are sourced from farms not affected by the contamination.  

The DAA added: “The Department of Agriculture and Agrifood would also like to stress that [it] continues to monitor and inspect the entry of agricultural commodities to ensure the safety of food consumption in the country.”

Australia is currently in the midst of an agricultural scare, after sewing needles were found in  supermarket strawberries in a deliberate act of sabotage, affecting multiple states in the country.  

Copycat cases of what is considered an act of “commercial terrorism” have also risen with sewing needles found in other fruits such as apples, mangoes and bananas, causing the country to go to drastic measures to ensure the public’s safety. 

The latest development in the story showed New Zealand being affected by the contamination after needles were found in a batch of strawberries in an Auckland supermarket.