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After meatballs, Ikea withdraws sausages after ‘few indications of horse meat’

Swedish furniture giant Ikewas drawn inEurope's widening food labeling scandal Monday as authorities Czech Republic said they had detected horse

Swedish furniture giant Ikea was drawn into Europe's widening food labeling scandal Monday as authorities in the Czech Republic said they had detected horse meat in frozen meatballs labeled beef and pork. (AP Photo/Jessica Gow)

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Updated: February 27, 2013 9:36AM



STOCKHOLM — After withdrawing meatballs from stores across Europe, home furnishings giant Ikea on Wednesday said it would also pull wiener sausages made by the same supplier after its own tests confirmed “a few indications of horse meat.”

Ikea said it would withdraw the sausages from stores in France, Britain, Spain, Ireland and Portugal. Other stores were getting sausages from other suppliers, company spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson said.

The move comes two days after Czech food inspectors found traces of horse meat in Ikea’s Swedish-made meatballs, prompting the company to pull them from store shelves in 21 European countries and in Hong Kong, Thailand and the Dominican Republic.

Stores in other countries, including the U.S. and Canada, were not affected because they received meatballs from a different supplier.

Ikea said results from its own tests confirmed some meatballs didn’t just contain beef and pork, despite what their labeling said.

“Based on some hundred test results that we have received so far, there are a few indications of horse meat,” Magnusson said. “Together with the Swedish supplier in question we have decided to withdraw from sales also the wiener sausages ... from that supplier.”

She didn’t know whether the wieners, which are supposed to be made of ground pork and beef, had also tested positive for horse meat, “but I know that at least some of the meatballs have shown traces of DNA from horse.”

Horse meat has recently been found mixed into beef dishes sold across Europe, including in frozen supermarket meals. It has also been found in meals served at restaurants, schools and hospitals. Authorities say the scandal is a case of fraudulent labeling but does not pose a health risk.

Portuguese authorities said late Tuesday they had seized 79 metric tons (87 U.S. tons) of beef products containing traces of horse meat in recent days and opened criminal proceedings against five local companies. Portugal’s Food Safety Agency said it made the seizures at companies that process, package and distribute meat to large retail outlets.

The agency said in a statement on its website that it also took almost 19,000 pre-packed products from Portuguese stores after detecting horse meat in them. They included lasagnas, hamburgers and meatballs.

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Associated Press writer Barry Hatton in Lisbon contributed to this report.



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