Swedish furniture giant 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. In the past few weeks, horse meat has been found in ground meat products in a variety of European countries.
Donkey and horse meat also have been found in restaurants and homes in numerous countries such as Italy. Donkey meat is a gourmet food in parts of Italy and is served in various restaurants there, clearly stated on menus as donkey meat, a local specialty. See, "Dumneazu: Soncino: Donkey Stew with the Guelfs and Ghibellinis." Horse meat on menus and in homes also is common in parts of Italy.
Horse meat traces in meatballs are not in any Ikea stores in the USA or Canada
Ikea and other stores in the U.S. and Canada were not affected, Ikea told the media, according to the February 25, 2013 news article, "Horse meat found in IKEA meatballs." Check out the site, "Ikea Horse Meat - Video Results." And see the video, "Play Video - Horse Meat In Ikea's Swedish Meatballs, Czech Authorities Say." And see the Associated Press news site, February 25, 2013, "Ikea withdraws meatballs in more than 20 countries."
The Europe-wide scandal over the contamination of beef products with horse meat reached the German capital on February 23, 2013, where, after laboratory tests, horse meat also had been discovered in Berlin in two Doener sandwich stands and in frozen meat from a discount store.
Authorities across the Continent continue to investigate the origin of ready-made lasagne that was labeled to contain only beef when it in fact also contained horse meat. On February 25, 2013 news sources announced horse meat also had been found in Ikea's famous Swedish meatballs, in Europe, but not in the USA or Canada. The big issue now is how does a consumer or anyone else know whether what's on the label is the same as what's in the product, unless the product is tested by an independent lab?
Authorities in the Czech Republic detected horse DNA in frozen meatballs labeled as having beef and pork
Ikea in Sweden reacted after authorities in the Czech Republic said they had detected horse DNA in tests of 1-kilogram (2.2-pound) packs of frozen meatballs that were labeled as beef and pork. The Czech State Veterinary Administration said it tested two batches of Ikea meatballs and only one of them contained horse meat. It did not say how much, according to the news article. See, "Horse meat found in Ikea meatballs - Telegraph."
Meatballs from the same batch had been sent from a Swedish supplier to 12 other European countries — Slovakia, Hungary, France, Britain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Ireland — and would be pulled off the shelves in all of them, Ikea told the media. See, "Horse meat found in Ikea's Swedish meatballs - Yahoo! News."
On February 25, 2013, the company expanded the withdrawals to stores in 21 countries that were getting meatballs from the same Swedish supplier. Countries such as Russia, and Norway which use local suppliers were not affected. Some countries use both local and international suppliers, such as Poland and Switzerland. But now, according to news reports, will be using locally produced meat 'dishes' such as meatballs. Check out the site, "Horse meat found in Ikea's Swedish meatballs | Fox News."
It has been only two weeks ago that Ikea tested a range of frozen food products, including meatballs, and found no traces of horse meat. The company plans to conduct its own tests to "validate" the Czech results. Interestingly, who else other than the Czech republic is testing the meat? As far as Ikea in Sacramento and else where in the USA, Ikea's North America branch told the media that the U.S. stores receive their meatballs from a U.S. supplier. In the USA, Ikea's recipe is made from a mixture of beef and pork from animals raised either in the USA or in Canada. See the news article, "Ikea withdraws meatballs in Europe, 21 nations hit."
Labeling rules may be the issue
Horse meat has been found in a wide range of frozen supermarket meals that were supposed to contain beef or pork. So far those foods include meatballs, burgers, kebabs, lasagna, pizza, tortelloni, ravioli, empanadas and meat pies, among other items. Tougher labeling may be necessary, but who's watching to see that what's on the label is in the product? The issue is now focused on labeling. Check out the site, "Horse Meat Found in IKEA's Swedish Meatballs - Forbes."
Who supplies Sweden with the meat? It's those frozen-food companies. Since meatballs come to stores frozen, people want to know what's in them, since they're not buying meat they see ground up at the local butcher shop as was the custom in the 1950s. Presently more DNA tests are being performed on the meat by the various companies and suppliers. The goal is to specify the quantity of horse meat detected.
The question is whether horse meat was handled at the facility and only represents less than 1 percent. If there's more than 1 percent horse meat in the meatballs, it would look as if the horse meat was added. and mixed into the product. In the meantime, the Czech authority said a total of 760 kilograms (1,675 pounds) of the meatballs were stopped from reaching the shelves. It also said it found horse meat in beef burgers imported from Poland during random tests of food products. Check out the news site, "Horse meat found in Ikea Swedish meatballs sold in Europe."
In Spain, authorities found traces of horse meat in a beef cannelloni product by one of the brands of Nestle, a Switzerland-based food giant. Nestle Spain said it was withdrawing six "La Cocinera" products and one "Buitoni" product from store shelves, according to its website. For further information, check out the news articles from the Associated Press and other news resources listed below.
News resources on horse meat found in IKEA meatballs