Ikea Responds to Horse Meat Scandal

Swedish furniture store Ikea is the latest to be implicated in the horse meat scandal that has shaken European consumers. Beginning in Ireland last month, horse meat was discovered in several beef products. Ready-to-eat meals in several countries have been recalled, such as frozen beef lasagna in Sweden, which consisted of between 60 and 100% horse meat.

Ikea meatballs

Horse meat was found in Ikea's popular meatballs, and stores have stopped selling them in the Czech Republic and 13 other European countries. Other locations, which have different meat suppliers, are continuing to sell the meatballs in the in-store cafeteria and as frozen food, packaged for purchase.

The world's largest furniture retailer posted a statement on its website to reassure U.S. customers:

IKEA US Meatball Content is Only Pork and Meat Products

(Conshohocken, PA – February 25, 2013) Customer confidence is of the upmost [sic] importance to IKEA. In light of the recent press on IKEA meatball content, we would like to correct some misinformation. All meatballs sold in our IKEA US stores are sourced from a US supplier. When this issue first came to light in Europe, we mapped the sources of the meat in our meatballs. Based on the results of our mapping, we can confirm that the contents of the meatballs follow the IKEA recipe and contain only beef and pork from animals raised in the US and Canada. All beef and pork from the US and Canada must comply with USDA guidelines.

IKEA is committed to serving and selling high quality food that is safe, healthy and produced with care for the environment and the people who produce it. We do not tolerate any other ingredients than the ones stipulated in our recipes or specifications, secured through set standards, certifications and product analysis by accredited laboratories.

In the "pink slime" scandal last year, which accused U.S. beef manufacturers of using an ammonia-infused additive, Beef Products Inc. was, similarly, on the defensive.

Image source.

Discussion Starters: 

  • Ikea claims that its own tests revealed no horse DNA. Did the company do the right thing by pulling the meatballs?
  • Assess Ikea's statement to U.S. customers. What is effective about this response, and what, if anything, could be improved?
  • What does "[sic]" mean in the statement above? What is the issue?