By Paul Chung
Ikea has assured Chinese consumers that their Swedish meatballs (sold in China) are totally horsemeat-free.
The Swedish home furnishing retailer is undergoing major damage control after it discovered traces of horse DNA in its signature dish, shipped to Ikea cafeterias in 14 countries in recent days.
The product was quickly pulled in Sweden, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Spain, Greece and a handful of other European countries that received the tainted batch.
In a preemptive move, Ikea stores in Hong Kong also suspended sales of the product to alleviate consumer anxiety. The Hong Kong stores use the same supplier in Sweden, although testing indicates that they did not receive any horsemeat batches.
According to Ikea China, all of its beef and pork products sold within Mainland China come from a supplier in Xiamen in Fujian province. Hence, there is virtually no chance that any of the equine meatballs from Europe could have been sold in China.
The Shanghai Daily reports that Shanghai’s Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau found no imported meats or food safety issues at Ikea’s Xuhui warehouse.
For the Chinese people, the issue, if anything, is that they were misled into believing that they were consuming a foreign commodity imported from Sweden. In a country renowned for embracing exotic foods, horsemeat probably wouldn’t engender much controversy anyway.