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IKEA stops selling all minced meat products from main supplier

People walk alongside an IKEA outlet in Prague, February 25, 2013. REUTERS/Petr Josek
People walk alongside an IKEA outlet in Prague, February 25, 2013. REUTERS/Petr Josek

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - IKEA stopped selling all minced meat products from its main supplier, two days after taking its trademark meatballs from the same Swedish supplier off menus over concerns they contained horsemeat.

The world's No. 1 furniture retailer, known also for restaurants at its huge out-of-town stores, said on Wednesday it had withdrawn Familjen Dafgard's IKEA-branded wiener sausages from stores in France, Spain, Britain, Ireland and Portugal, as well as stuffed cabbages and veal burgers in Sweden.

Tests in the Czech Republic on Monday showed a batch of meatballs from Sweden's Familjen Dafgard contained horse.

"Based on some hundred test results that we have received so far, there are a few indications of horsemeat," IKEA said in a statement. "We are now, together with our supplier and third party experts, reviewing how we can reinforce routines to avoid similar situations in the future."

A scandal erupted last month when tests in Ireland revealed some beef products contained horsemeat, triggering recalls of ready-made meals in several countries and damaging confidence in Europe's vast and complex food industry.

Familjen Dafgard is the only Swedish firm so far to confirm undeclared horse in its meat products amid the scandal. On Wednesday it said its own tests confirmed the batch tested by Czech inspectors, and three other batches, contained horse.

All these samples contained 1-10 percent horsemeat, said Lennart Nilsson, a veterinary inspector at Sweden's National Food Agency of the tests run by Familjen Dafgard.

The supplier said it was still trying to establish where its own meat suppliers had sourced the meat in the four batches.

Nilsson said Familjen Dafgard buys meat in Sweden and elsewhere in the European Union although the meat may well originate from third parties outside the union.

IKEA stopped meatball sales in stores across most of Europe, and in Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia and the Dominican Republic, all supplied by Sweden's Familjen Dafgard. No food sales have been stopped in IKEA stores that have other suppliers, such as in the United States, Canada, Russia, Australia and Japan.

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Louise Ireland)