Swedish retailer IKEA said Monday it halted sales of its famous meatballs at stores and restaurants across Europe after traces of horse meat were found in meatballs sold at its Czech stores.
Company executives decided to stop sales of the food product at all stores in Europe after 14 national divisions had already suspended sales of the meatballs, IKEA spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson told Efe.
"It is very important to not worry our customers," Magnusson said, adding that "more investigations" had been started.
IKEA plans to conduct "specific" genetic tests on all batches of meatballs by the "middle or end of this week," Magnusson said.
The test results will determine what the giant retailer will do with its popular Köttbullar meatballs, or Swedish meatballs, after tests on the food product in the Czech Republic came back positive for horse meat.
IKEA performed DNA tests two weeks ago on all its food products and none of the 12 shipments of meatballs came up positive for horse meat, Magnusson said.
European authorities have been dealing this month with a food safety crisis caused by suppliers who labeled horse meat as beef.
IKEA said in a statement that meatballs sold in the United States and Canada contained only beef and pork.
"All meatballs sold in our IKEA US stores are sourced from a US supplier. When this issue first came to light in Europe, we mapped the sources of the meat in our meatballs. Based on the results of our mapping, we can confirm that the contents of the meatballs follow the IKEA recipe and contain only beef and pork from animals raised in the US and Canada. All beef and pork from the US and Canada must comply with USDA guidelines," the retailer said. EFE