It was reported by the Huffington Post on Feb. 25, 2013 that IKEA the Sweden furniture store is now entangled in the horse meat scandal with their Swedish meatballs according to Czech Republic.
The authorities in Czech Republic informed Ikea that they had detected traces of horse meat in one of the two packages of frozen meatballs they tested labeled as beef and pork.
Ikea is known for being an affordable furniture store with a concept of the consumer assembling the furniture they purchase. Ikea is also well known for selling their Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam at their store cafeteria locations.
The food that is sold at the cafeteria is also available for purchase in the frozen section at the store. The meatballs are a popular seller with the lingonberry jam.
The scandal regarding horse meat started in mid-January with Ireland and U.K. receiving burger patties for Burger King that contained traces of horse meat.
As the horse meat scandal continues to spread across Europe, Ikea is the latest company to be affected. Ikea has pulled all their Swedish meatballs from 21 countries that were receiving meatballs from the Swedish supplier where horse meat traces were detected.
The company expanded their withdrawals to Hong Kong, Dominican Republic and Thailand after they received meatballs from the same Swedish supplier.
Meatballs made from the same batch, that came from the Swedish supplier was sent to 12 other European countries – France, Britain, Spain, Italy, Greece, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Hungary, Cyprus and Slovakia. In an effort to be cautious Ikea said it would pull all the meatballs from the supplier that was sent to Ikea store locations in these countries.
Thus far the countries not affected according to an Ikea spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson are Russia, Norway, Switzerland because they use local supplier. However stores in Poland and Sweden use local suppliers as well as the Swedish supplier in question.
Magnusson told the Associated Press that they would only use locally produced meatballs; “this is an extraordinary effort to ensure that no one is worried”.
Ikea stated that the stores in the U.S. and Canada were not affected with horse meat. The U.S. North America branch wanted to ensure customers, that their meatballs were safe so they stated that the meatballs in the U.S. stores get their meatballs from a U.S. Supplier.
Mona Astra Liss who is another Ikea spokeswoman said “based on the results of our mapping, we can confirm that the contents of the meatballs follow the Ikea recipe and contain only beef and pork from animals raised in the U.S. and Canada.”
European Union met on Monday, Feb. 25 to discuss action on tougher labeling rules due to the outcry of horse meat being sold as beef. The prepared frozen foods that have been effected in Europe is meatballs, burgers, pizza, tortellini, lasagna, ravioli, kebabs, empanadas and meat pies just to name a few.
Sweden food safety is awaiting the final report from Czech authorities as to how much horse meat was found in the meatballs before taking any action.
Karin Cerenius who is with Sweden’s National Food Agency said “ if it’s less than one percent it could means that they handled horse meat at the same facility; if it’s more we assess that it’s been mixed into the product.”