STOCKHOLM – Ikea, the Swedish furniture giant, stopped sales of its meatballs in 21 European countries after food inspectors in the Czech Republic found horse meat in the company's meatballs. The frozen meatballs were labeled as containing beef and pork.
The Czech Veterinary Administration said the horse meat was found in packs of frozen meatballs made in Sweden and shipped to the Czech Republic for sale in Ikea stores there, the Associated Press reported. A total of 1.675 lbs. of meatballs were affected. An Ikea spokesperson told AP that meatballs from the same batch were shipped to Slovakia, Hungary, France, Britain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Ireland.
Some Ikea stores feature a restaurant and food store. A batch of meatballs was withdrawn from food stores as a precaution, but the product line remains on sale, according to news reports. In a statement, the company said emphasized its commitment to selling high-quality, safe food.
"We do not tolerate any other ingredients than the ones stipulated in our recipes or specifications, secured through set standards, certifications and product analysis by accredited laboratories," the company said.
Millions of frozen burgers and other prepared meals were recalled in the past month following an analysis by the food-safety officials in the United Kingdom, Ireland and several other European countries began finding horse DNA in products labeled as beef. The European Parliament's public health and food-safety committee suggested more tests and greater sanctions as measures to cope with the growing scandal of horse meat being purposely mislabeled as beef.