IKEA takes meatballs off Europe menus after horsemeat found

Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:21pm EST
 
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By Jana Mlcochova and Anna Ringstrom

PRAGUE/STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden's IKEA stopped nearly all sales of meatballs at its furniture store cafeterias across Europe after tests in the Czech Republic on Monday showed some contained horsemeat.

The world's No. 1 furniture retailer, known also for the signature restaurants at its huge out-of-town stores, said it was pulling all meatballs produced by its main supplier in Sweden after the tests showed horsemeat in its beef and pork meatballs.

A European scandal erupted last month when tests in Ireland revealed some beef products contained horsemeat, triggering recalls of ready-made meals in several countries and damaging confidence in Europe's vast and complex food industry.

Meatballs, a famous Swedish dish often served with mashed potatoes, gravy and lingonberry jam, have become a trademark for IKEA, which sells them hot from the in-store cafeterias and packaged off the shelf.

The vast majority of IKEA's meatballs are made by Sweden's Familjen Dafgard, which said on its website that it was investigating the situation and would receive further test results in coming days.

The withdrawals did not affect meatballs in Norway, Russia, nor some in Switzerland or Poland, which were made by other suppliers, said IKEA spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson at the company's headquarters in Helsingborg, southern Sweden.

"We are now getting to the bottom of this and making extra tests, but we have decided to stop the meatball sales for a few days, so that no one needs to worry, until we have the results," Magnusson said.

IKEA stores in the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan were unaffected as they too have other suppliers.   Continued...

 
People walk alongside an IKEA outlet in Prague, February 25, 2013. REUTERS/Petr Josek