Grocery store workers were being urged Thursday to pay attention to the fresh fruit and vegetables they handle, after a customer at a Coop store in Sarpsborg found a needle in a banana. It’s the first time such an incident has been reported in Norway.
“All of our stores are under video surveillance, so we will check our tapes,” Harald Kristiansen, communications chief for the Coop chain, told state broadcaster NRK. “We also know when the bananas were bought and when we got them into the store.”
Local newspaper Sarpsborg Arbeiderblad had already reported that customer Madeléne Leidland bought the banana at her local Coop, which reported the incident to the police. When she cut it up the next day to eat it for breakfast, she was pricked by the needle that was sticking out of the banana.
“If it had been pushed farther into the banana, I could have eaten it,” she told NRK. “It’s scary to think that someone wanted to cause so much pain to other people.”
Needles found in strawberries and bananas sparked fears all over Australia this past autumn, until a woman in her 50s was arrested and charged with tampering with food. She faces 10 years in prison. A toddler in Sweden was also recently rushed to hospital after eating a banana with several needles in it. Kristiansen said he hoped the Sarpsborg incident would be the last in Norway, but meanwhile Coop employees at all its stores nationwide were told to be on alert in their produce departments.