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Horsemeat found in Ikea meatballs

Horsemeat found in Ikea meatballs
Horsemeat has been found in a batch of Ikea's swedish meatballs (AP)

Published: 11:58am, 25th February 2013
Updated: 8:24am, 26th February 2013

Swedish furniture giant Ikea has withdrawn a batch of its meatballs from Britain and 12 other countries after horse was found in one export consignment.

The Czech Republic discovered the 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's trademark blue-and-yellow 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.

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.

"But, of course, we take the tests that Czech authorities have done very seriously," she said. "We don't tolerate any other ingredients than those on the label."

The company said all of the meatballs were supplied by Gunnar Dafgard, a family-owned frozen foods company in south-western Sweden.

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