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Ikea Says No Horse Meat in Russian Meatballs

A customer getting ready to savor meatballs at an IKEA supermarket. Petr Josek

Swedish furniture giant Ikea said meatballs sold in its 14 stores in Russia are not affected by a European recall over fears of horse meat.

Ikea said the frozen meatballs that it sells locally use certified Russian ingredients and it will not suspend sales.

"We only use ingredients that are recorded in recipes and specifications registered in accredited laboratories," the Ikea press service said in a statement carried by Interfax.

The Ikea group initiated DNA tests on entire range of meat products globally two weeks ago amid a horse meat scandal in Europe and found no trace of horse meat in 12 sample batches supplied by its various divisions. Ikea Russia supplied meatballs for the tests, the company statement said.

Now Ikea plans to conduct new tests to "validate" the findings of authorities in the Czech Republic, who said they detected horse DNA in tests of 1 kilogram packs of frozen meatballs that were labeled as beef and pork.

The Czech State Veterinary Administration said it tested two batches of Ikea meatballs and only one of them contained horse meat. It did not say how much.

Meatballs from the same batch had been sent from a Swedish supplier to 12 other European countries — Slovakia, Hungary, France, Britain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Ireland — and will be pulled off the shelves in all of them, Ikea said.

The company also has expanded the withdrawals to stores in 21 European countries and in Hong Kong, Thailand and the Dominican Republic, all of which were getting meatballs from the same Swedish supplier.

Ikea spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson said that included most European countries, but not Russia and Norway, which use local suppliers. Stores in Poland and Switzerland use both local suppliers and the Swedish one, but would now use only locally produced meatballs, she said.

"This is an extraordinary effort to ensure that no one is worried," Magnusson said.

Material from The Associated Press is included in this report.

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