Ikea beefs up meat ban over horsemeat fears

Horsemeat contamination fears have prompted Swedish furniture giant Ikea to halt the sale of additional meat products after new tests by a Sweden-based meatball supplier confirmed horsemeat content.

Ikea beefs up meat ban over horsemeat fears

“In consultation with the Swedish supplier, Ikea has decided to expand its ban on sales to include other mincemeat products from the supplier,” Ikea said in a statement on Wednesday.

In Sweden, Ikea has ordered stores to stop selling Wallenbergare veal patties as well as cabbage and beef gratin (kålpudding).

In addition, Ikea stores in France, Spain, the UK, Ireland, and Portugal have been ordered to stop selling Vienna sausages.

However, the sausages will remain on sale in Sweden, as they come from a different supplier.

The new bans come in addition to a Europe-wide ban on meatballs initiated on Monday, covering all countries except Norway, Russia, and Switzerland. In Poland, the ban only affects products in the Swedish food market section of Ikea stores.

“We are taking the situation very seriously; it’s incredibly important for us that our customers can trust what’s written on the label,” Ann Holster, head of Ikea Food Sweden, said in a statement.

“We’re now working together with our suppliers to see how we can strengthen our procedures to avoid similar situations in the future.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Gunnar Dafgård AB, the main Swedish meatball supplier for Ikea stores in Europe, reported that its own tests had revealed the presence of horsemeat in meatballs destined for Ikea.

The new tests revealed that some Dafgård’s meatballs contained between 1 and 10 percent horsemeat.

Generally, any finding over 1 percent could indicate that horsemeat was mixed in with the mince, rather than simply being a case of production-line contamination.

Speaking with the TT news agency, the Ikea spokeswoman emphasized that very few of the hundreds of samples tested contained horsemeat.

“We talking about an interval of 1 to 10 percent,” Holster said.

Ikea has continued to test its own meatballs for horsemeat, with results expected as soon as Wednesday.

TT/The Local/at

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Ikea will buy back your used furniture at up to half the price

In the run-up to what would in normal times be the festive season sales rush, Ikea has vowed to buy back used furniture from customers to resell – and pay up to 50 percent of the original price.

Ikea will buy back your used furniture at up to half the price
Got any pieces of Ikea furniture at home? You may be able to get rid of it and get money back. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Ikea, the world's largest furniture chain, said Tuesday it would begin buying back used furniture from customers to resell – and pay up to 50 percent of the original price.

The “Buy Back Friday” scheme, timed to coincide with the “Black Friday” pre-Christmas retail frenzy, will run from November 24th and until December 3rd in 27 countries.

“Rather than buy things you don't need this Black Friday, we want to help customers give their furniture a second life instead of making an impulse buy,” said Stefan Vanoverbeke, deputy retail operations manager at Ingka Group, Ikea's parent company.

To address concerns its affordable, flat-pack products encourage overconsumption and waste, the Swedish company had previously said it would start renting and recycling furniture as part of an eco-drive.

Under its buyback scheme, the group said that “anything that can't be resold will be recycled or donated to community projects to help those most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

“Some countries like Australia and Canada for example are currently testing different buyback services, but BuyBack Friday will be the first time that 27 countries do this together,” the statement added.

The Swedish giant employs over 217,000 people and has more than 50 outlets. Its annual turnover is around 40 billion euros ($46 billion).

The group did not specify how it would determine the price paid for second-hand furniture and customers will receive a voucher, not cash, for their products.  

As part of efforts to reduce waste, Ikea has already begun repairing and re-packaging products in every store that have been damaged in transit, as well as allowing customers to return products – including furniture – for resale or donation to charities.