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Capsicum spiked with needle in Tauranga

Images of the needle-spiked capsicum purchased from a Tauranga Countdown on November 24. Photo: Stuff/Supplied.

A stir fry left a sharp taste in the mouth for one Tauranga couple as they discovered a needle inside a capsicum. 

Will Taylor cooked the stir fry for his girlfriend on Sunday using a red capsicum purchased from Countdown Bureta Park the day prior.

"She bit into it and it scratched the side of her tongue," he says. "Thankfully it hasn't done any serious damage or had any effects from it."

Will says they inspected the piece of food and discovered a small needle had been inserted into the vegetable.  

"It was about an inch and a half long. I've still got it in case police or MPI need to look at it."

Will says he contacted the store immediately and informed them. 

"They were not too sure what the response should be. They did say they were going to take them off the shelves. I just want people to know so they can watch out."

A Countdown spokeswoman says the store has referred the matter to the New Zealand police who will investigate. 

"We take food safety incredibly seriously and will work closely with both the NZ Police and MPI to cooperate fully with their investigation."

The capsicum was not the only fruit purchased last Saturday spiked with needles.

strawberry was discovered to also contain a needle which which was purchased at a FreshChoice supermarket in South Canterbury sparking an investigation from MPI.

MPI spokeswoman Helene Ambler confirmed the strawberries in question were New Zealand grown.

"The person who found the needle was not harmed.

"The matter has been referred to the police who are leading the criminal investigation.

"MPI will provide support and information to police, where needed, and work to mitigate any public health risk."

Helene says at this stage, MPI does not have any reason to believe the incident was more widespread.

"Our advice to consumers remains: if you see something out of the ordinary, please take it to your retailer or give us a call on 0800 00 83 83."

-Stuff/Matt Shand

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