Horsemeat Found In IKEA's Meatballs

Feb 25, 2013
Originally published on February 25, 2013 9:36 am

Bad news for those whose shopping trips at Ikea are partly motivated by the allure of the store's famous meatballs: The giant Swedish furniture retailer on Monday said it had recalled a batch of frozen meatballs sent to more than a dozen European countries after tests detected traces of horse meat.

Food inspectors in the Czech Republic discovered the horse meat DNA last week in 2.2-pound packs of frozen meatballs labeled as beef and pork and sold under the name Kottbullar.

Ikea says it has pulled frozen meatballs from the same batch that were sent to its stores in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, France, the U.K., Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands, Ireland, Cyprus, Greece, Spain and Belgium, The Wall Street Journal reports. The product was also removed from Ikea stores in Sweden.

"As soon as we received information from the Czech authorities, we stopped sales of that particular production batch," Ikea spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson told the Journal.

"Our own checks have shown no traces of horse meat. Now we must of course look into this further," Ikea said in a statement posted on its website.

All the meatballs come from the same supplier, Magnusson told The Associated Press, but she says shipments to the U.S. and other countries weren't affected.

While Ikea is primarily known for its ready-to-assemble furniture kits, it also does a brisk business selling specialty foods in its retail outlets, which include an in-store restaurant. Food sales brought in $1.72 billion in 2012, according to the Journal.

Ikea is the latest retailer to be swept up in the ever-widening European horse meat scandal. Horse meat has been detected in a wide array of products, from frozen lasagnas to burger meat sold to Burger King's U.K. operations, and in a meat pasta sauce sold by Wal-Mart's U.K. supermarket chain, Asda.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.