Horse meat scandal: IKEA withdraws meatballs


    Horse meat scandal is not going to end anytime soon. The Swedish company IKEA withdrew meatballs from stores in United Kingdom and other European countries after discovery of horsemeat in place of beef and pork.

    According to thestar “IKEA became entangled in Europe’s widening meat scandal Monday, forced to withdraw meatballs from stores across Europe amid suspicions that they contained horse meat. Stores in the US and Canada were not affected, IKEA said.”

    IKEA is essentially a privately held, international home products company that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture such as beds, chairs, and desks, appliances, and home accessories. The company is the world’s largest furniture retailer.

    It reacted after authorities in the Czech Republic said they had detected horse DNA in tests of one-kilogram packs of frozen meatballs that were labelled as beef and pork. The Czech State Veterinary Administration said it tested two batches of IKEA meatballs and only one of them contained horsemeat. It did not say how much.

    The company said it took the Czech results “showing indications of traces of horsemeat” seriously and “immediately issued a sales stop” of the batch in which indications of horsemeat were identified in Czech Republic.

    Reports said that 21 Europeans countries have been affected by this packaging fraud.

    Thestar goes on to say that, “IKEA North America branch said the US stores get their meatballs from a US supplier. Based on the results of our mapping, we can confirm that the contents of the meatballs follow the IKEA recipe and contain only beef and pork from animals raised in the US and Canada,” IKEA North America spokeswoman Mona Astra Liss said in a statement.”

    Britain’s Channel 4 news said horsemeat was discovered in some burgers and lasagna in the UK and Ireland just last month.

    Horsemeat is safe and considered a delicacy in some countries, such as France, Italy and Japan. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) says “there is no food safety risk to consumers from these products”.

    The FSA is an independent government department responsible for food safety and hygiene across the United Kingdom.

    Channel 4 news goes on to say, “Last month the restaurant chain Burger King announced that it would no longer be sourcing burgers from the Irish supplier ABP which owns Silvercrest, even though ABP has insisted that meat for Burger King was stored and processed separately. Burger King said this was a “precaution” which might mean that some products were temporarily unavailable.”

    But if authorities in Europe “find the products tested had contained horse medicines––for example, phenylbutazone, a commonly used medicine in horses––the risks to human consumption would be much higher. This is banned from use on animals in the food chain, but so far it has not been found in the beef samples tested.”

    The horsemeat issue has divided the European Union. Countries like Britain see further rules as a protectionist hindrance of free trade in EU’s single market. On the other hand Austria and Germany call for tougher regulation.