Ikea has withdrawn meatballs from sale in 14 European countries after tests in the Czech Republic found traces of horsemeat in a batch made in Sweden. Meatballs from the same batch had been sold in many states, including the UK, France and Portugal, the retailer said. Swiss food giant Nestle meanwhile said it had found horse DNA in meat from the Spanish supplier, Servocar. The discoveries come as EU agriculture ministers meet for talks expected to focus on the growing horsemeat scandal.
Since the first horsemeat was discovered in frozen meals and burgers in the UK and Ireland last month, traces have been found in meat products across Europe. ‘Testing like mad’
Ikea’s announcement on Monday came after the Czech State Veterinary Administration said horsemeat had been found in 1kg (2.2lb) packs of meatballs manufactured in Sweden and shipped to the Czech Republic for sale in Ikea stores there. A total of 760kg (1,675lb) of the meatballs have been intercepted and stopped from reaching Czech shelves, according to the Associated Press. Horsemeat had also been found in beef burgers imported from Poland, the Czech State Veterinary Administration said. In a posting on its Swedish Facebook page, Ikea first confirmed it was halting all sales of meatballs at its stores in the country. Later, the company announced that meatballs from the affected batch of meatballs had also been sent to Ikea stores in Slovakia, Hungary, France, the UK, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and the Republic of Ireland.
Ikea insisted that it had not found any horsemeat during in-house tests on its own range of food products, carried out two weeks ago, but said new tests would now be carried out.
“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,” a statement said.
Also on Monday, the Spanish agriculture ministry announced that traces of horsemeat had been found in beef pasta meals produced by brands owned by Nestle. A statement on the Swiss company’s website said it was withdrawing six “La Cocinera” products and one “Buitoni” product from shops in Spain, and that it had halted all deliveries from the meat supplier, Servocar. Nestle said testing continued across its products, a week after it announced that it was withdrawing two types of beef pasta meals from supermarkets in Italy and Spain which had been supplied by a company in Germany, H J Schypke.
A Nestle spokesman told the BBC the discovery of horsemeat in the products of a second supplier was not an indication that the problem was widespread across the company, but because “we are testing like mad”.