Swedish furniture giant Ikea was drawn into Europe’s widening food labeling scandal Monday as authorities said they had detected horse meat in frozen meatballs labeled as beef and pork and sold in 13 countries across the continent.
Ikea said Monday there was no horsemeat in its popular meatballs sold in the United States, after the Swedish furniture giant withdrew possibly horsemeat-tainted meatballs from stores in Europe.
“All meatballs sold in our Ikea US stores are sourced from a US supplier,” the company said in a statement, after a test in the Czech Republic showed horsemeat in Ikea meatballs sold there.
“When this issue first came to light in Europe, we mapped the sources of the meat in our meatballs,” the US division said.
“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.”
Ikea, which sells bags of frozen meatballs in the small food sections of its huge furniture stores, pulled the product from shelves in 16 European countries Monday after the Czech Republic tests.
Ikea said the meat in its European product normally came from Sweden, Germany and Ireland, but producers from other countries could be contracted when demand was especially high.
Since January a number of ready-made food products sold in supermarkets across Europe and exported abroad have shown that horsemeat has been used and labeled as beef or other products.
The effects were felt as far away as Hong Kong, where a brand of European-made lasagne reportedly tainted with horsemeat has been withdrawn from stores.
But so far the scandal has not touched the shores of the United States and Canada, both large beef and pork exporters.