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CHINA

Faecal bacteria found in Ikea chocolate cakes

Health authorities in China have confiscated nearly two tonnes of chocolate cakes imported from Sweden by Ikea after finding high levels of bacteria commonly found in the human intestinal tract.

Faecal bacteria found in Ikea chocolate cakes

According to the Shanghai Daily, high levels of coliform bacteria were found in a shipment of Ikea’s almond chocolate cakes, prompting authorities to seize and destroy 1.87 tonnes of the dessert.

The shipment arrived in Shanghai from Sweden in January.

Coliform bacteria are universally present in large numbers in the faeces of warm-blooded animals and are commonly used bacterial indicator for testing the sanitary quality of foods and water.

Ikea officials have since pointed that the bacteria was not healthy

“We now know that it’s a coliform bacteria that’s not dangerous to people’s health, not as with E. Coli or anything similar,” Sara Paulsson of Ikea told the TT news agency.

“But we’ll never know exactly which bacteria it is because the cakes have been destroyed.”

The cakes have not been sold in Sweden.

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The Ikea chocolate cakes were one of 247 different products from a range of suppliers that failed Chinese sanitation inspections, the Shanghai Daily reported.

“We buy chocolate from one supplier. That it’s of high quality, that checks are carried out in all warehouses, and that rules are followed are obviously all important questions,” Ikea spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson told TT.

The revelations that faecal bacteria were found in Ikea’s chocolate cakes comes just a week after horsemeat was found in the company’s Swedish meatballs, prompting a massive recall.

On Monday, the Sweden-based meatball supplier to Ikea stores in Europe said it had traced the horsemeat to a Swedish supplier with ties to slaughterhouses in Poland.

Speaking with the Aftonbladet newspaper, Magnusson emphasized Ikea’s commitment to quality.

“It’s important that products that might contain bacteria don’t make it to customers,” she said.

“The safety of our products is our highest priority.”

Ikea has since been in contact with manufacturer Almondy to determine exactly where in the chain things turned sour.

TT/The Local/dl

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IKEA

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.

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