Ikea Canada says it has no reason to believe its meatballs contain horsemeat, after inspectors in the Czech Republic found horse in product widely distributed in Europe.
Ikea on Monday halted sales of its trademark Swedish meatballs in 13 countries after the Czech State Veterinary Administration reported its findings to the EU's Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed.
The tests, on a batch labelled "beef and pork meatballs," were carried out in response to a Europe-wide scandal that erupted last month when tests in Ireland revealed some beef products contained horsemeat.
Spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson at Ikea's Swedish headquarters in Helsingborg told Reuters that batch has been pulled from shelves in Britain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Slovakia, Hungary, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Ireland, as well as the Czech Republic, and there was no indication that any other batch had been affected.
Ikea stores in Canada, the U.S., Australia and Japan weren't affected, Magnusson said, because their meat comes from other suppliers.
"This situation is isolated to one supplier in Europe and does not affect the meatballs sold at Ikea Canada," Canadian spokeswoman Madeleine Lowenborg-Frick told QMI Agency in an e-mail, adding the meat sold here is produced in the U.S. "Our customers' confidence in our products is of the utmost importance to Ikea."
In Italy, consumer rights group Codacons called for checks on all meat products sold by Ikea in the country and suggested it might pursue legal action.
ó With files from Reuters