Horsemeat Scandal: IKEA Stops Selling Meatballs in 24 Countries

A billboard advertizing the meatballs in front of an IKEA store in Malmö, Sweden. Zoom
AFP

A billboard advertizing the meatballs in front of an IKEA store in Malmö, Sweden.

After horse DNA was found in meatballs on sale in a store in the Czech Republic on Monday, Swedish furniture group IKEA stopped selling the product in 13 countries. On Tuesday, Germany and others were added to the list, which now numbers at 24. 

Swedish furniture chain IKEA has withdrawn its Köttbullar meatballs from stores in 24 countries in the last two days, adding Germany and others to that list on Tuesday after Czech food inspectors found horse DNA in frozen meatballs at a branch in Brno on Monday.

A company spokeswoman confirmed that the meatballs had been taken off the shelves in Germany on Tuesday. It remains unclear whether horsemeat was served to customers of stores in the country, though.

"The IKEA Group has taken an extra-precautionary measure by issuing a temporary sales stop of meatballs in parts of Europe," the company said in a statement on Monday. "The sales stop concerns meatballs manufactured by one supplier in Sweden and applies to all European countries except for Norway, Russia and a limited number of products in Switzerland and Poland."

"We take seriously the test result from the Czech Republic authorities, indicating presence of horse meat in one batch of our meatballs."

The company said it had initiated DNA analyses of all meat products in the range two weeks ago and that twelve tested samples of different batches of meatballs showed no traces of horsemeat. "We expect the test results at the end of the week to confirm that there are no indications of horsemeat in the meatballs."

The meatballs in question were supplied by Gunnar Dafgård AB, a family-run frozen food business in southwestern Sweden. The company could not immediately be reached for comment.

In Germany and many other European countries, undeclared traces of horsemeat have been found in ready meals such as ravioli, frozen lasagna and tinned goulasch in recent weeks. A major investigation into the scandal is underway.

cro -- with wire reports

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