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Ikea stops sale of meat products in Europe

Feb. 27, 2013 at 1:23 PM

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Swedish retailer Ikea said it has halted the sale of all meat products in its stores after tests confirmed horse meat in meatballs from a Sweden-based supplier.

Ikea has ordered stores in Sweden to stop selling "other mincemeat products from the supplier," it said in a statement Wednesday.

Stores in France, Spain, the United Kingdom and Portugal have withdrawn sale of Vienna sausages, the Swedish online news organization The Local reported Thursday.

Swedish officials said Wednesday tests by the Swedish meatball supplier for Ikea confirmed its products contain horse meat.

A spokeswoman for Sweden's National Food Agency said tests in Sweden show that meatballs from food producer Dafgard AB contain between 1 percent and 10 percent horse meat. Dafgard is the main meatball supplier of Ikea stores in Europe.

Generally, any finding of more than 1 percent indicates that horse meat was mixed into the ground meat rather than it simply being a case of contamination that took place during production.

Earlier this week Czech food inspectors said they found traces of horse meat in Ikea-brand frozen Swedish meatballs.

Ikea halted meatball sales at its stores in Sweden and 14 other European countries on Monday. A day later the ban was extended to stores in 24 countries. U.S. stores weren't affected.

"We are taking the situation very seriously. It's incredibly important for us that our customers can trust what's written on the label," said Ann Holster, head of Ikea Food Sweden in a statement.

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