Europe's ongoing horsemeat scandal has claimed another victim as Swedish retail giant IKEA was forced to withdraw meatballs from sale in at least 15 countries.
The retailer's announcement came after authorities in the Czech Republic found traces of horsemeat in an affected batch made in Sweden. The Czech State Veterinary Administration said horsemeat had been found in 1kg packs of meatballs, which were shipped to the Czech Republic for sale. A total of 760 kilograms of the meatballs were halted.
Meatballs from the same batch have been withdrawn from over a dozen more countries. "We take this very seriously and have withdrawn one-kilo bags of frozen meatballs from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, France, Britain, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Cyprus, Greece and Ireland," in addition to Sweden and Czech Republic, IKEA spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson said. The product had also been removed from shelves in Denmark, according to Dorte Hjorth Harder, spokeswoman for IKEA Denmark.
Gunnar Dafgard, the supplier of the meatballs located in southwestern Sweden, is currently holding crisis meetings Monday and in a written statement said that “the shipment in question has been stopped and we are investigating the situation”. The company added that it was performing its own DNA tests on the batch.
The news has come as European Union ministers have met in Brussels to discuss how to contain a spiraling scandal that broke out in January when horse DNA was found in beef burgers in Britain and Ireland.