Ikea withdraws cakes over contamination fear

Swedish furniture giant Ikea has pulled a batch of almond cakes from its restaurants in 23 countries after Chinese authorities said they contained a bacteria normally present in faecal matter.

The Swedish-made cakes failed tests “for containing an excessive level” of coliform, according to reports.

Ikea said 1,800 Taarta Chokladkrokant cakes — described on its website as an almond cake with chocolate, butter cream, and butterscotch — were destroyed after being intercepted by Chinese customs in November. The “excessive level” of coliform were found in two batches of the cake made by a Swedish supplier.

Ikea said yesterday that Ireland and Britain were not affected by the discovery. Coliform bacteria, found in the environment and in the faeces of humans and warm-blooded animals, are not normally the cause of serious illness. However, the retailer has not yet been informed of how high the levels of coliform bacteria were in the destroyed cakes.

“These cakes never reached our stores,” said Ikea spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson, adding that the group was currently looking into whether cakes from the suspect batch had been sent to any other countries.

“There are indications that the levels of bacteria found are low but we obviously have to know the exact amount, and find out how this happened,” she added.

Ms Magnusson said the cakes had not been withdrawn from sale in any markets as of early yesterday. It said it was carrying out a full investigation with the supplier to ensure it would not happen again.

Ikea said in a statement: “There is no health risk associated with consuming this product. The production batches have, as per safety and quality routines, been tested for bacteria that can cause health issues, such as E.coli, and none of these pathogen bacteria have been found. However, since the product does not comply with our strict food quality standards we have decided to withdraw the concerned production batches from sale in the 23 affected countries.”

Ikea last week pulled its trademark meatballs off the shelves in 25 countries after Czech authorities found traces of horse DNA in a batch of 1kg bags of frozen meatballs.


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