Ikea withdraws meatballs after traces of horse meat found
Ikea became the latest company caught up in the horse meat scandal when traces of horse were found in its meatballs.
The furniture giant has withdrawn a batch of its meatballs from Britain and 12 other countries after horse was discovered in one export consignment.
Ikea’s trademark stores typically feature a restaurant that serves traditional Swedish food, including meatballs served with boiled or mashed potatoes, gravy and lingonberry jam.
Meatballs – “Kottbullar” in Swedish – are also available in the frozen foods section.
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Following days of revelations about horse DNA found in a variety of processed foods, a third of parents now believe they may have served horse meat to their children.
The poll by parenting website Netmums suggests that the scandal has led many families to change their eating and shopping habits, with some no longer buying processed meat or eating ready meals. Almost two thirds of parents say that the crisis will shape their child and their family’s view of food and what is safe to eat in the long term.
Oxfam added further pressure on food companies yesterday by saying that they are failing to meet ethical standards. Leading global brands such as Nestle, Mars and Coca-Cola are failing to ensure the well-being of the workers who produce their products and are continuing to profit from a broken system they should be helping to fix, the Oxfam report claims.
The Czech Republic discovered horse in one-kilo packs of frozen meatballs made in Sweden and sent for sale in Ikea stores there. A total of 760 kilos (1,675lbs) were stopped from reaching the shelves.
Ikea said meatballs from the same batch had gone out to Slovakia, Hungary, France, Britain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Ireland.
A spokeswoman said meatballs from that batch were removed from Ikea stores in all those countries. Other shipments were not affected, even though they all come from the same Swedish supplier.
“Our global recommendation is to not recall or stop selling meatballs,” she said.
However, the company’s Swedish branch announced it will not sell or serve any meatballs at its stores in Sweden out of concern for “potential worries among our customers.”
The spokeswoman said Ikea saw no reason to extend that guidance globally. She said the firm was conducting its own tests of the affected batch “to validate” the Czech results. She also said that two weeks ago Ikea tested a range of frozen food products, including meatballs, and found no traces of horse meat.
The Netmums poll questioned 1,293 parents for their views of the horse meat scandal. It reveals that a third believe they may have unwittingly served horse meat to their child, while half said the affair has changed their shopping and eating habits. Of these, more than half said they have stopped buying processed meat and eating ready meals.
Netmums food editor Cathy Court said: “This could shape up to be the biggest crisis in food production in modern times. It shows no signs of abating and may even overtake the BSE issue.”
The Oxfam study claims leading global brands such as Nestle, Mars and Coca-Cola are failing to ensure the well-being of the workers who produce their products and are continuing to profit from a broken system they should be helping to fix.
Oxfam chief executive Barbara Stocking said: “Consumers have the right to know how their food has been produced and the impact this has on the world’s poorest people who are growing the ingredients.
“Companies have a responsibility to treat local producers, communities and environments with respect.”