Swedish furniture giant Ikea has withdrawn some of its meatballs from sale in at least 15 European countries after horsemeat was found in the product by Czech authorities, the company said Monday.
"We take this very seriously and have withdrawn one-kilo bags of frozen meatballs from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, France, Britain, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Cyprus, Greece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, said company spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson.
The product had also been removed from shelves in Denmark, according to Dorte Hjorth Harder, spokeswoman for Ikea Denmark.
"We have today been informed that our meatballs could contain traces of horsemeat, based on a test done in the Czech Republic," Ikea said in a statement.
"Our own tests haven't shown any traces of horsemeat. We now obviously have to study this further," it added.
The batch of one-kilogramme (2.2 pounds) frozen meatballs had been pulled from shelves due to "customer concerns", Ikea said.
Sweden's National Food Agency said it had been informed of the tests by Dafgaard, the company that produces the meatballs sold by Ikea in most European countries.
"It's the authorities in the Czech Republic that found traces of horsemeat in one of three tests they performed," said Karin Cerenius, head of food control for the agency in the western region of Vaestra Goetaland.
"They still don't know the amount (of horsemeat) involved," she said.
Dafgaard said in a statement it was performing its own DNA tests on the batch and that the meatballs had been "blocked" from distribution.