Czech authorities have discovered horsemeat in Swedish meatballs produced for the furniture giant Ikea and labeled as beef and pork, reports the Huffington Post. It’s the latest — and so far, most unlikely — company to be dragged into the European horsemeat scandal that began early this year.
The Czech State Veterinary Administration has found horsemeat in 1-kg packs of the Kottbullar frozen meatballs produced in Sweden. Ikea confirmed on its Facebook page that it would halt sale of meatballs in Sweden and later withdrew the meat from 14 countries across Europe. The company has said the batch tested had also been exported to Slovakia, Hungary, France, the U.K., Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and the Republic of Ireland, notes the BBC. Further tests found that 760 kg of meatballs contained horsemeat.
(MORE: Horses for Courses: Despite Europe’s Scandal, Horsemeat Is Often on World’s Menu)
However, the Swedish company says other regions are not at risk and does not plan to halt shipments of its meat to the U.S. “Our global recommendation is to not recall or stop selling meatballs,” spokesperson Ylva Magnusson told the Huffington Post. She said there was no reason to halt its sales in America and that Ikea tests carried out two weeks ago on a range of frozen foods found no traces of horsemeat. Magnusson has revealed that all meatballs supplied to Ikea come from Gunnar Dafgard AB — a family-run frozen-food company in Sweden that has yet to comment.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the French Agriculture Ministry announced on Saturday that horsemeat containing the potentially harmful drug phenylbutazone — an anti-inflammatory treatment used on horses that can cause serious blood disorders — had entered the French food chain. In response to the scandal, French President François Hollande has promised to push for mandatory labeling of meat in ready-made meals, writes thejournal.ie.
(MORE: As the Horsemeat Hysteria Spreads, E.U. Opens a Mad-Cow Can of Worms)
Sweden is one of a growing list of European countries to have been affected by the horsemeat scandal ever since horsemeat was found in Irish beef burgers in January. The following 17 countries have been hit so far:
Republic of Ireland