Horse meat in IKEA meatballs prompted the Swedish furniture giant to pull them from shelves on Monday.
The horse meat scandal that has rocked Europe appears to have widened even further after furniture retailer IKEA on Monday halted sales of meatballs in 21 countries. It also initiated a recall of horse meat-contaminated meatballs in 14 others.
The Sweden-based company temporarily halted all sales of meatballs after authorities in the Czech Republic founded traces of horse DNA in them. The meatballs were sold in 1 kilogram (2.2 pound) packs and were labeled as beef and pork.
IKEA is the latest large retailer to pull products over horse meat contamination. In the past several weeks, supermarket chains Tesco, Aldi, Asda, and others have found traces of horse DNA in their beef products.
“IKEA takes the test result from the Czech Republic authorities showing indications of traces of horse meat seriously. To validate the test results, we are now initiating further tests on the same production batch in which the Czech Republic authorities found indications of horse meat,” IKEA said in a statement.
It added: “We are expecting test results in the coming days and will then be able to give more information. IKEA is committed to serving and selling high-quality food that is safe, healthy and produced with care for the environment and the people who produce it.”
The company also withdrew meatballs in 14 countries on Monday: Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Ireland, Greece, and Cyprus.
The majority of IKEA’s meatballs sold across Europe are produced by Familjen Dafgård, a Swedish supplier. In Norway, Russia, Poland, and Switzerland, the meatballs are made by local suppliers, a spokeswoman said.
“We’ve decided to stop all sales of meatballs in most European countries in order to not create worries for our customers pending the results of our own tests,” IKEA spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson told the Wall Street Journal.
Magnusson stressed that the meatballs are not harmful to eat. “This is about what it says on the label being correct,” she said.
“We hope that by taking decisive action, we can show our customers that we take their concerns seriously,” Magnusson added. “It’s important that our customers feel safe, and if they have concerns they should contact us.”
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