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No horse in Shanghai meatballs

By Cai Wenjun (Shanghai Daily)

08:38, February 27, 2013

There is no horsemeat in meatballs sold in Ikea stores on China's mainland, the company reassured customers yesterday.

Beef and pork for its popular dish comes from suppliers in the coastal city of Xiamen, Ikea China said, and none was imported.

The Swedish furniture giant's announcement followed the discovery on Monday of horsemeat in frozen meatballs due to be sold in its stores in 13 countries.

Ikea has taken meatballs off the menu in its stores in 24 countries and regions but they were still on sale in Shanghai yesterday.

The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration said it sent officials to Ikea's branches in Xuhui District and the Pudong New Area yesterday after learning about its involvement in Europe's horsemeat scandal.

Their investigation found that no imported meat was being used.

Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau confirmed the meat wasn't imported.

"Local checks haven't found food safety problems at Ikea restaurants," said Du Bing, an official with the Shanghai FDA.

On Monday, it was reported that the Czech State Veterinary Administration had detected horsemeat in packs of frozen meatballs made in Sweden and shipped to the Czech Republic for sale in Ikea stores there.

Ikea said meatballs from the same batch had gone out to Slovakia, Hungary, France, Britain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Ireland but had been removed from sale in all those countries.

Sales were also halted in Sweden.

The scandal began in Ireland in mid-January when the country announced the results of its first DNA tests on beef products.

It tested frozen beefburgers taken from store shelves and found that more than a third of brands at five supermarkets contained at least a trace of horsemeat.

Checks on other processed meals found that some products on sale contained up to 100 percent horsemeat.

Governments, supermarkets, meat traders and processors began their own DNA testing of products labeled beef and tens of millions of products have been removed from store shelves across the world.

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