IKEA has pulled a batch of meatballs from its shops across Europe after Czech inspectors discovered they contained horsemeat and had been been on sale in several European countries.
Petr Chadraba, spokesman for the Swedish furniture store chain, said the batch of meatballs containing horsemeat had been on sale in Britain, Czech Republic, Portugal, the Netherlands and Belgium but had since been pulled everywhere
The Swedish company said meatballs would still be available to buy in its stores and only one batch was being withdrawn as a precaution until further tests on it could be done.
Earlier today Czech inspectors found horsemeat in meatballs made in Sweden for IKEA Group, the world's biggest furniture retailer, the Czech food regulator said.
The company also halted the sale of meatballs at its Italian shops produced by Swedish supplier Familjen Dafgard on concerns they may contain horsemeat, a spokesman for IKEA's Italian unit said.
"We stopped selling in Italy meatballs from this Swedish producer," a spokesman said. "Our meatballs must be made of beef and pork. We will carry out checks on possible DNA presence (of horsemeat)."
The checks were carred out in response to a European-wide scandal that erupted last month when tests carried out in Ireland revealed some beef products also contained horsemeat.
It has triggered recalls of ready meals and damaged confidence in Europe's vast and complex food industry.
The Czech State Veterinary Administration reported its findings to the EU's Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed, it said in a statement.
The inspectors took samples for DNA tests in IKEA's unit in the city of Brno from a product labelled as "beef and pork meatballs", the statement said.
The consignment of meatballs that was tested had not been distributed to consumers, the statement said.
A spokesman for the institute said he did not know whether the meatballs were distributed in other European countries.
IKEA said they were made by a single Swedish supplier.
The inspectors also found horsemeat in burgers from Poland labelled as "beef pre-fried burger" supplied to the food trader and distributor BidVest Czech Republic.
Czech inspectors had previously found undeclared horsemeat in one other product sold on the Czech market.
The meatballs were labelled as beef and pork and were in 1kg frozen packs sent to the Czech Republic for sale in Ikea stores there.
The Czech Republic's state veterinary administration found traces of horsemeat as part of its testing programme.
A total of 760kg of the meatballs were stopped from reaching the shelves.