Horse meat found in Ikea’s Swedish meatballs

Ikea Swedish Meaballs.
For many, Swedish meatballs are part of the allure of shopping at Ikea. Photo: Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar/Flickr.

Cross-posted from Detroit Free Press

Reported by Kim Hjelmgaard for USA Today

LONDON — It’s been about a month since a factory in Ireland let the pony out of the stable and admitted to finding traces of equine DNA in beef patties it made for export to the United Kingdom.

Since then, dinner tables across Europe have been finding out almost daily that at some point they probably were graced with an uninvited guest.

The latest discovery was made by the Swedish furniture giant Ikea. Inspectors in the Czech Republic said Monday they found traces of horse meat in frozen meatballs made in Sweden for the furniture maker.

Other shipments of meatballs were not affected, including to the USA, even though they all come from the same Swedish supplier

Ikea spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson said meatballs from the same batch had gone out to Slovakia, Hungary, France, Britain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Ireland. Magnusson said meatballs from that batch were taken off the shelves in Ikea stores in all those countries.

Other shipments of meatballs were not affected, including to the USA, even though they all come from the same Swedish supplier, Magnusson said.

“Our global recommendation is to not recall or stop selling meatballs,” she said. Authorities are finding out that tracing the origins of the horse-meat scandal is a bit like playing Whac-A-Mole [1].

Over the weekend, horse meat was found on pizza in Denmark. Last week, Swiss food giant Nestle and frozen foodmaker Birds Eye were forced to withdraw products from supermarkets in Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Read full report >>


It appears to us that politicians and horse meat suppliers are focusing on the labeling to distract diners from the failed passport and medication history documentation that allows the meat to enter the human food chain. Tighter regulation of either means absolutely nothing as it will be got around no matter what bureaucrats come up. Additionally, the tighter the regulation the more it costs, subtracting from the bottom line.

The bottom line is those in the business of providing horse meat want to make money supplying it. They will soon learn that this issue is not going away, and that horse meat is going to continue turning up. Do not be fooled. You most likely will never be certain just what you are eating, and that includes any country these companies supply meat to.

While the bureaucrats meet about horse meat it is still on the table of unsuspecting diners somewhere, and that is not likely to change.

[1] The term “Whac-a-mole” (or “Whack-a-mole”) is used colloquially to denote a repetitious and futile task: each time an adversary is “whacked” it only pops up again somewhere else.

2 thoughts on “Horse meat found in Ikea’s Swedish meatballs”

  1. It’s just…chilling, isn’t it, that you cannot be sure WHAT you’re putting in your body unless you grow it yourself.

    So many American horse slaughter proponents have touted horse meat as a stable of European tables, so much so that slaughtering in America for export to other countries is why it would be so profitable. Seems they may have misunderstood, mislead, over-inflated or just flat out lied about the European market for horse meat. Europeans and the British Isles are genuinely horrified that they may have eaten this by mistake – and by some foolish supplier making a decision they had no right to make.

    Here or abroad, it’s powerhouses & politicians – like agriculture departments or ministries making unilateral decisions generally unpopular with the citizenry. The only thing we can do to keep these folks out of our homes is to remember – we have the power: Over where we choose to spend our own money, over choices and behaviors that take those decisions away from politicians and profiteers who care more for the ‘bottom’ line than the people it effects, and that becoming addicted to ease and convenience has a cost.


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