Created on: February 28, 2013
In a food scandal that rocked the world and keeps getting bigger, furniture giant IKEA has withdrawn its popular Swedish meatballs out of its stores and cafés across Europe and parts of Asia after traces of horse meat were found in a batch of meatballs.
Over the past month, the horse meat scandal has been growing. Last month the people across the world were
shocked to learn that horse DNA was found mixed in with products that were labeled to be beef in the European market.
Grocers quickly began pulling foods containing processed beef off their shelves, many of which are considered to be "trusted" brands. Also, a recall by the Swiss food maker Nestlé occurred last week, reported the New York Times.
While horse meat is routinely eaten in some countries, the problem is the fraudulent mislabeling in these products. When the issue was first uncovered by Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) on Jan. 15, 2013, the agency noted concerns over the "traceability of meat ingredients and products entering the food chain".
Since then, the problem has widened. Not only is traceability of meat's origin an issue, but also illuminates how trusted brands can be caught off guard by this type of scandal that originates out of their facilities. The New York Times describes it as companies, such as IKEA, are being caught "out by rogue elements."
In response to the detection of the horse meat being present in the meatballs, IKEA has stopped serving this item in Sweden, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, France, Britain, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Ireland.
IKEA is also pulling its signature meatball dish off its menus and stores in Thailand, Hong Kong and the Dominican Republic, reported Business Week.
Anders Lennartsson, a spokesman for Ikea Food Services, said in a statement, “We take seriously the test result from the Czech Republic authorities, indicating presence of horse meat in one batch of our meatballs.”
IKEA also said it later pulled its wiener sausages from its supplies as a safety precaution, according to the Wall Street Journal. No horse DNA has been found, however the sausages reportedly come from the same supplier of the meatballs, a company called Familjen Dafgard. The countries affected by this are France, the U.K., Spain, Ireland and Portugal. Other European countries get their sausages from different suppliers, said a company spokesperson.
"Our focus is currently on continued testing to be able to identify the source of the meat and see where in the chain the procedures broke down," Familjen Dafgard said.
In regard to the entire scandal of horse meat being found in beef products, officials are very concerned over the deception.
“Clearly there has been fraud on a massive scale across multiple countries in the E.U.,” Simon Coveney, the agriculture minister for Ireland, said at a news conference in Brussels on Monday.
Numerous investigations are ongoing.
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