Ikea cake withdrawn after faecal germs found


Chinese consumers were angry yesterday after news that customs officers had removed a batch of almond-and-chocolate cakes from sale at Swedish furniture retailer Ikea because they contained coliform bacteria, normally found in faeces.

Ikea said 1,800 Taarta Chokladkrokant cakes, which is an almond cake with chocolate, butter cream and butterscotch, had been removed from its restaurants in 23 countries, although not in Ireland or Britain.

The cakes were destroyed in December after Chinese customs intercepted them. China’s general administration of quality supervision, inspection and quarantine said the cakes had failed tests for “containing an excessive level of coliform bacteria”.

The Shanghai quarantine bureau also seized and destroyed expired Kraft cream cheese and Nestlé chocolate containing sorbitol, a sweetener that can cause bowel problems when consumed in large quantities.

Chinese consumers, who are resigned to regular food scares with domestic products and pay a hefty premium for foreign food in the belief that it is more reliable, have been dismayed.