Customers walk near the entrance of an IKEA store (Reuters)
Customers walk near the entrance of an IKEA store (Reuters)

Czech inspectors have found horsemeat in meatballs labelled as beef and pork made in Sweden for the furniture retailer Ikea group, the Czech news agency CTK reported.

The State Veterinary Administration said a total of 760kg (1,675 pounds) of the meatballs were stopped from reaching shelves in the Czech Republic after the discovery of horsemeat.

The authority said today (Monday) that horsemeat was also found in beef burgers imported from Poland. The institute reported its findings to the EU's Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed, CTK added.

The furniture company confirmed it has now withdrawn some of its  meatballs in 14 European countries.

Ikea spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson said: "We take this very seriously and have withdrawn one-kilo bags of frozen meatballs from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, France, Britain, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Cyprus, Greece and Ireland," in addition to Sweden.

The company wrote on their Swedish Facebook page: "We have now been informed that our meatballs may contain traces of horsemeat from a test that is done in the Czech Republic. Our own checks have shown no traces of horse meat. Now we must of course look into this further. 

"At IKEA, we do not compromise on quality, safety, or the ingredients in the food we sell and serve. In view of potential concern among our customers we now stop all sales and service of our meatballs around the country."

The latest discovery of contaminated meat across Europe comes as European Union agriculture ministers are due to meet in Brussels to discuss the ongoing horsemeat scandal.

Czech authorities found horsemeat in beef products for the first time last week. The contaminated lasagna bolognese was made by frozen food processor Tavola S. A. Comigel and sold at Tesco.

The horsemeat scandal began last month following the discovery of contaminated burgers and other beef products in the UK and Ireland.

Italy and Germany have also reported finding horsemeat in products.