IKEA puts reins on meatballs over horsemeat
AFPSTOCKHOLM -- Swedish furniture giant IKEA has withdrawn its own-label meatballs from sale in at least 16 European countries after Czech authorities found horsemeat in the product, the company said Monday.
February 27, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
One-kilogram (2.2-pound) bags from the suspect batch of frozen meatballs had been pulled from the shelves in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Britain, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Cyprus, Greece and Ireland, the company said.
Stores in Sweden, Denmark, France and Romania withdrew meatballs from sale as a precautionary measure but IKEA said there was no horsemeat in the meatballs served in its stores in the United States.
“We take this very seriously,” company spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson said.
IKEA is the latest group to become caught up in a Europe-wide scandal over the presence of horsemeat in ready-made dishes that erupted in January when horse DNA was detected in beefburgers in Britain and Ireland.
Swiss food giant Nestle said Monday it had stopped using a Spanish supplier after tests determined there was horse DNA in products supposedly containing pure beef.
“We have today been informed that our meatballs could contain traces of horsemeat, based on a test done in the Czech Republic,” IKEA said in a statement.
“Our own tests haven't shown any traces of horsemeat. We now obviously have to study this further,” it added.
The affected production batch had been pulled from shelves due to “customer concerns” but others remained on sale, the firm said.
IKEA said the meat in the product normally came from Sweden, Germany and Ireland but producers from other countries could be contracted when demand was especially high.
“During production peaks the meat could come from other countries,” Magnusson said.
The company had given all its meat products the all clear after testing them for traces of horse two weeks ago.
“We are now double-checking this,” Magnusson said, adding that results from the second round of testing were expected by the middle of this week.