Horsemeat found in IKEA meatballs

The horsemeat frenzy has galloped into out-of-town furniture warehouses with the news that even IKEA has been caught up in the illicit equine scandal. Amidst all the self-assembly wardrobes and bizarrely-named lamps, the meatballs are IKEA’s flagship foodstuff, but tests have determined that these contain a substantial proportion of horsemeat.

This being the modern European catering industry, the "Swedish" meatballs are made in Brno, in the Czech Republic. Tests on the 1kg (2.2lb) packs of frozen meatballs, manufactured for sale in IKEA stores around the world, revealed that "beef and pork meatballs" contain rather a lot of horse. IKEA immediately removed the product from sale.

A spokesman for the company said: "IKEA takes the test result from the Czech Republic authorities showing indications of traces of horsemeat seriously." Which is probably a better response than admitting they were having a huge laugh about it. It’s a PR setback for IKEA, but the global giant has managed to come back from bad publicity in the past, notably when it emerged that the company’s founder Ingvar Kamprad was a member of a pro-Nazi fascist movement in Sweden during the war.

IKEA joins several supermarkets and frozen food giants Findus and Birds Eye in withdrawing food products after the horsemeat revelations. A major caterer, Sodexo, which supplies food to schools, hospitals and the Armed Forces, had to withdraw all of its frozen beef products because of fear of contamination.

Mary Creagh, the shadow environment secretary, called for Government intervention. "The Government must make clear to the companies involved in the horsemeat scandal that nothing less than total transparency will satisfy the public," she said.

Local butchers and farmers’ markets have enjoyed a sales boom during the scandal, with consumers keen to ensure they are buying properly-sourced meat from reputable dealers. The great horsemeat scandal of 2013 could turn out to be a watershed in the way the British regard what they eat.

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