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Qld farm worker faces needles allegations

Lawyer-Michael-Cridland.jpg

Lawyer Michael Cridland, representing My Ut Trinh, leaves the Magistrates Court in Brisbane, Monday, November 12, 2018. My Ut Trinh has been charged with seven counts of contamination of goods with intent to cause economic loss, following an investigation into the alleged contamination of strawberries containing needles in Queensland in September. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

A former farm worker accused of contaminating strawberries with needles is due to face court after what Queensland police say is one of the most trying investigations they have conducted.

My Ut Trinh, also known as Judy, was arrested on Sunday and charged with seven counts contamination of goods, which has a maximum 10-year prison penalty.

Detective John Walker from state crime command told reporters on Monday the accused woman, 50, was an employee in the strawberry industry in the Caboolture area.

Police began investigating in September when sewing needles were found in fruit, with a further 230 incidents reported nationwide impacting 68 strawberry brands, the detective told reporters in Brisbane.

Forty-nine brands were Queensland-based. In Queensland, 77 incidents were reported. Of those, 15 were believed to be a hoax or a false complaint, he said.

The investigation was not over, with further investigative strategies being undertaken.

"This has probably been one of the most trying investigations that I've been part of. It's a fairly unique," he said.

The operation was multijurisdictional also including Queensland Health, the Victoria Police, and Australian Border Force and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission

The 50-year-old woman worked as a supervisor of fruit pickers at the Berry Licious or Berry Obsession farm - which was traced back as the source of the needle contamination, the Courier-Mail reported.

She is scheduled to face court in Brisbane on Monday.

© AAP 2018