We never really trusted food from IKEA anyway…
For weeks now, the European food industry has been rocked by a scandal involving meat products tainted with horse and donkey meat. Now, the whole unsavory affair has also struck IKEA, whose Köttbullar Swedish meatballs had become a cult classic among customers. But in the Czech Republic and several other European countries, IKEA meatball fans are going to have to do without. Food inspectors in the Czech city of Brno recently discovered horse DNA in product offered for sale at the local IKEA store. Further tests revealed that 760 kilograms of meatballs contained horse meat and were ordered recalled by the food inspectors.
For IKEA, this represents a small, but tricky moment of infamy: on the one hand, food products aren’t exactly the core business of a furniture retailer. On the other hand, IKEA has prided itself of bringing a whiff of Sweden to its customers around the world – and the Swedish meatballs have been IKEA’s best-loved non-furniture product.
By all appearances, it will be a while until the European food chain becomes certifiably horse-free. In the meantime, IKEA faces a dilemma: err on the side of caution and pull its meat balls from all European stores. Or keep them on the menu in countries that haven’t been affected to date, at the risk of further discoveries.
A note to U.S. IKEA meatball lovers: there are no indications that meatballs slated for sale in the United States have been affected.