Just when everyone was ready to heave a sigh of relief after the horsemeat scandal that has rocked the global food industry, another seems to have surfaced, with ripple effects felt in the UAE as well.
Swedish furniture giant Ikea has withdrawn a batch of its chocolate almond and butterscotch cakes across 23 countries after it was found to contain sewage bacteria.
The UAE is one of the 23 countries mentioned in the recall.
The traces of coliform bacteria under investigation in the suspected batch can be found in soil, vegetation, water, as well as in the faeces of humans and warm-blooded animals.
In response to traces of coliform bacteria found in two isolated production batches of almond cake with chocolate and butterscotch produced for the restaurant, Ikea has confirmed with Emirates 24|7 that it has withdrawn sales of the product in an emailed statement.
The statement reads: “Global Ikea and Ikea UAE are both committed to serving high quality food that is safe, healthy and produced with care for the environment.
“Traces of coliform bacteria have been found in two isolated production batches of almond cake with chocolate and butterscotch, produced for the restaurant, from one supplier in Sweden.
“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.”
Ikea has named the supplier, saying the concerned batches come from the Swedish supplier, Almondy.
The statement further adds: “Since the product does not comply with our strict food quality standards we have decided to withdraw the concerned production batches from sales.”
The Shanghai quarantine bureau in China has reported it has already destroyed 1,872kg of chocolate almond cake imported by Ikea that it said had excessive levels of coliform bacteria.
The cake had failed tests “for containing an excessive level of coliform bacteria, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine,” the Shanghai Daily website wrote.
In a statement to AFP, Ikea spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson was quoted as saying: “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.
“But there is no health risk associated with consuming this product.”
She added that the Swedish supplier has tested the same batch of almond cakes and found no presence of E. coli or human intestinal bacteria.
Aside from the UAE, other countries listed in the recall include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and Taiwan.