We’re undergoing a fruit-tampering scandal in Australia at present. Fresh strawberries in punnets have been found to be contaminated with sewing needles and pins – first in Queensland and now in South Australia and Western Australia. It raises interesting questions and speculation:
a. To start with, I have no idea who is behind it – no evidence, no experience of the problem, no fruit ( aside from a couple of soggy bananas ) in the house. All I know, like Will Rogers, is what I read in the newspapers.
b. Is it a racket? Was the original case the result of some mob going to a Queensland fruit grower and threatening contamination in a protection or blackmail racket? No pay, and the threat carried out?
c. Are the further cases copycat instances of people contaminating fruit in local stores?
d. Is there a network of fruit-contaminators at work throughout the distribution chain? Is there a central nub of crime at work here for some monetary purpose?
e. Is there some terrorist organisation that wants to spread fear with sewing needles? What possible connection could anyone make with politics or religion and strawberries?
f. Was the initial contamination a personal vendetta against a grower that has become a fashionable thing to emulate?
These are all questions that have undoubtedly passed through the official police offices. They are certainly competent to analyse this sort of thing. But they may not be able to articulate other questions out loud…
g. Who benefits if the strawberry growing industry in Australia is reduced? Other suppliers? In other countries?
h. Which other countries? Countries that supply fresh berries…or canned berries…to the supermarkets. Look on the can of berries in the tinned fruit section and see where they come from. Is this significant?
i. If people are put off berries, to what product will they turn? Who grows that product here in Australia? Do they have any connection to the strawberry suppliers? Or to the workers who deal with the strawberries through the production process?
j. Most important question – and one most difficult to get a real answer for…
Who will demand money to make the problem go away? Who will they demand it from? How is it to be paid?
These questions are nothing but the product of years of watching television drama, but that doesn’t stop them from being relevant.