IKEA food follies


IKEA has recalled food products a number of times throughout its history that I wish to look into more, but was recently affected by the horsemeat scandal in Europe. In February, IKEA recalled its signature Swedish meatballs in all European countries, except Norway and Russia, when Czech Republic authorities detected horsemeat in frozen meatballs labeled beef and pork. Two weeks prior, IKEA performed its own tests that did not detect horse DNA. Horsemeat is significantly cheaper than beef and easily substituted by suppliers to reduce costs. Horsemeat was also discovered in hot dogs sold in Russia during expansive meat testing performed by IKEA.

Just over one week after the meatball recall, IKEA withdrew its chocolate and butterscotch almond cakes from stores in 23 countries after Chinese authorities detected Faecal coliforms, bacteria normally found in human and animal waste, in them. A single Swedish supplier produced the affected batches of cakes. IKEA attributed the recall to the product not complying with its strict food quality standards, not as a health risk to consumers.

IKEA addressed the food recalls claiming, “IKEA is committed to serving and selling high quality food that is safe, healthy and produced with care for the environment and the people who produce it. We do not tolerate any other ingredients than the ones stipulated in our recipes or specifications, secured through set standards, certifications and product analysis by accredited laboratories.” The issue I wish to look at is IKEA’s ethical decisions regarding supply chain management and quality control of the products it sells at low prices, in addition to whether or not a furniture company selling food is ethically responsible.

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