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February 28, 2013

Horse meat scandal broadens

The Associated Press

STOCKHOLM - After withdrawing meatballs from stores across Europe, home furnishings company Ikea said Wednesday its own tests confirmed "a few indications of horse meat" and that it would also remove wiener sausages made by the same supplier.

Meanwhile, Poland acknowledged for the first time that it is a source of horse meat that has fraudulently ended up in processed meat products sold as beef -- an admission that came as the country said it found traces of horse DNA in samples from three meat processors.

Ikea said it would withdraw the sausages from stores in France, Britain, Spain, Ireland and Portugal. Other stores were getting sausages from other suppliers, company spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson said.

No horse meat had been found in the wieners, which are made of ground pork and beef, but they were removed anyway because they came from the same supplier as the meatballs, Magnusson said.

The move comes two days after Czech food inspectors found traces of horse meat in Ikea's Swedish-made meatballs, prompting the company to pull them from store shelves in 21 European countries and in Hong Kong, Thailand and the Dominican Republic.

Stores in other countries, including the U.S. and Canada, were not affected because they received meatballs from a different supplier.

Ikea said results from its own tests confirmed some meatballs didn't just contain beef and pork, despite what their labeling said.

Horse meat has recently been found mixed into beef dishes sold across Europe, including in frozen supermarket meals. It has also been found in meals served at restaurants, schools and hospitals. Officials say the scandal is a case of fraudulent labeling and poses no health risk.

The French wholesaler at the epicenter of the scandal, Spanghero, announced Wednesday that it had filed for bankruptcy protection.

The company, which employs 300 people, denies that it intentionally mislabeled and sold horse meat as beef, but the French government has said it should have known and temporarily forced it to shut down all production. Spanghero has slowly started to package meats again, but is not selling any to other manufacturers.





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