Horse meat detected in Ikea meatballs

A customer buys lunch at the Ikea cafeteria in Prague. Authorities in the Czech Republic discovered horse meat in a batch of Ikea's meatballs. photograph: reuters

A customer buys lunch at the Ikea cafeteria in Prague. Authorities in the Czech Republic discovered horse meat in a batch of Ikea's meatballs. photograph: reuters

 

Furniture giant Ikea became the latest company to be dragged into the horse meat scandal when authorities in the Czech Republic said horse meat had been detected in Ikea meatballs.

The Swedish retailer, which has a store in Ballymun, Dublin, said its own DNA tests two weeks ago had not detected horse meat but it had withdrawn the batch of meatballs in question. They had been on sale in the store’s food shop, known as the Swedish Food Market.

Precautionary measure

Meatballs were still on sale in Ikea’s restaurant yesterday morning but in the afternoon Ikea said it was taking “an extra-precautionary measure” by issuing a temporary sales stop of meatballs in certain European countries, including Ireland and the UK.

“We expect the test results at the end of the week to confirm that there are no indications of horse meat in the meatballs,” it said in a statement.

Ikea is famous for its meat balls, or kottbullar, which cost €3.95 for 10 in the restaurant in its Dublin store.

“We take seriously the test result from the Czech Republic authorities, indicating presence of horse meat in one batch of our meatballs,” said Anders Lennartsson of Ikea Food Services. “The trust of our customers is of utmost importance, which is why the concerned production batch of meatballs was immediately withdrawn and we are now taking this extra-precautionary measure”.

He said Ikea’s own DNA tests involved 12 samples of different batches of meatballs and found no traces of horse meat.

Further tests

Ikea said it was now initiating further tests on the same production batch in which the Czech Republic authorities found indications of horse meat and expected results later this week. The Czech authorities said the horse meat was found in one-kilo packs of frozen meatballs made in Sweden and sent to the Czech Republic.

Karin Cerenius of Sweden’s food health authority said her organisation was waiting for more information from the Czech Republic on how much horse meat had been found in the meatballs. “If it’s less than 1 per cent it could mean that they handled horse meat at the same facility. If it’s more, we assess that it’s been mixed into the product,” she said.

The Czech authorities also said they had found horse meat in burgers imported from Poland. The news came as Polish agriculture minister Stanislaw Kalemba insisted Poland was not implicated in the scandal.