Are you hungry enough to eat a horse? Maybe you have. On Tuesday, Feb. 26, the Seattle Times reported that Swedish furniture company IKEA has withdrawn meatballs from their European stores due to suspicions that they contain horsemeat. IKEA has a store in Renton, Wash., near Seattle, but stated that stores in the U.S. and Canada were not affected.
All sales of IKEA’s meatballs in Sweden were halted after horsemeat (labeled as beef and pork) was detected. Authorities in the Czech Republic detected horse DNA in tests of frozen meatballs that were labeled as beef and pork.
Meatballs were soon pulled off the shelves in 21 other European countries, including Slovakia, Hungary, France, Britain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Ireland, as well as Hong Kong, Thailand, and the Dominican Republic.
"This is an extraordinary effort to ensure that no one is worried," IKEA spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson told The Associated Press.
While the meatballs containing horsemeat came from a Swedish supplies, Ikea's North American branch said the U.S. stores receive their meatballs from a U.S. supplier, indicating that meatballs in Wash. State should be free of horsemeat.
IKEA, which sells assemble-yourself furniture, also serves meatballs, potatoes, gravy and lingonberry jam in its cafeterias.
On Monday, Feb. 25, European officials discussed the presence of horsemeat in meatballs, burgers, kebabs, lasagna, pizza, ravioli, empanadas, and meat pies. Spanish authorities found traces of horsemeat in a Nestle beef cannelloni product.
Nestle Spain announced on its website that it was withdrawing six "La Cocinera" products and one "Buitoni" product from store shelves.
Concerns over the presence of horsemeat began in Ireland in mid-Jan. after the country ran its first-ever DNA tests on beef products. It tested frozen beef burgers taken from store shelves and found that more than one third of the brands at five supermarkets contained at least a trace of horsemeat.
British supermarket Tesco had a brand that contained more than 25 percent horsemeat.
On Dec. 19, 2012, the Snohomish, Wash. council legislative body convened for a public hearing on a horse slaughter ordinance. The council unanimously voted to oppose the return of horse slaughter in Wash. State.
Ordinance 12-106 plans to cease the plans of Canadian company Bouvry Exports to slaughter horses for human consumption just outside of Stanwood, Wash. The U.S. Food and Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) indicated that it is preparing to begin issuing permits for horse slaughter. Bouvry Exports requested an application for a permit.
Updates to this story will be posted as they occur.
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