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Sales start of newly produced meatballs
23-03-2013 08:00
 | 
[National] 
IKEA Group is committed to serve and sell responsibly produced, high quality food and we have strict quality and safety standards on our food products.

“The trust of our customers and co-workers is of utmost importance to us. In light of the horse meat concerns in the food industry, it is clear that IKEA Group, despite high standards, has failed to live up to our customers’ expectations. We take this very seriously and are now making changes to further strengthening traceability throughout the entire food value chain”, says Edward Mohr, Global IKEA Food Manager.

As a first step we analysed the production of meatballs together with a third party expert and the affected supplier in Sweden. As a result:

• We have simplified the supply chain by limiting the number of meat suppliers from 15 to just 7.

• We have improved controls at the concerned supplier by adding DNA analyses both on the raw meat material and on the final product. This is an extra measure to secure that our meatballs only will contain ingredients listed in the product specification.

Next steps

• In cooperation with a 3rd party quality assurance company we are now further developing our requirements for sourcing and processing for all meat products in our range, with the goal to secure full traceability back to the farm.

• DNA analyses are being implemented as a normal procedure for minced meat from all suppliers in all production units.

• Through extended regular third party audits we will ensure that suppliers and sub-suppliers live up to these stricter requirements.

IKEA UK and Ireland will start to serve meatballs again from Tuesday 26th March in all stores.

Questions & Answers

When will IKEA meatballs be available again?

On Tuesday March 26th, meatballs will be back on the IKEA restaurant menu in the UK and Ireland. As soon as supply is secured, we will sell meatballs in the Swedish Food Markets.

How have you secured that the meatballs from the concerned supplier meet the specification?

Together with third party expert, SGS, (an independent quality assurance company) and our supplier we have agreed on measures to prevent horse meat in meatballs including;

• Only meat from a limited number of trusted sub-suppliers goes into the production.

• DNA analyses are made on both incoming raw material and on the final product. Only products showing no traces of horse meat DNA are shipped to IKEA stores.

How do you secure that all meat products meet the specifications?

Short term:

As an immediate measure, we have, together with a quality assurance company (SGS), developed a set of requirements for minced meat products. These requirements include;

• Limited number of suppliers of meat.

• Traceability back to the abattoirs.

• No meat purchased through traders.

• DNA analyses are made on both incoming raw material and on the final product. Only products showing no traces of horse meat DNA are shipped to IKEA stores.

The requirements are valid for all minced meat products, global as well as local.

Medium term:

We are also developing a comprehensive standard with requirements on traceability, slaughter, deboning and processing of meat products. The standard is developed together with a quality assurance company, SGS, and is expected to be ready before the end of April 2013. The standard will be implemented during the next six months. Announced and unannounced audits together with tests and documentation will secure compliance. Our goal is traceability all the way back to the farms.

How many suppliers of meat does your Swedish meatball supplier have?

Together with the concerned supplier we have decided to reduce the number of meat suppliers to the meatball production by 50% (from 15 to 7).

What is the country of origin of the meat?

The meat in the meatballs produced by the Swedish supplier comes from Germany (and shortly from Sweden and Ireland).

How much meat is there in IKEA meatballs?

IKEA meatballs contain 84% meat (beef and pork).Will you label the products with country of origin of the meat?

The meat in the meatballs produced by the Swedish supplier comes from Germany (and shortly from Sweden and Ireland). We label the individual product with country of production, which is Sweden.

IKEA welcomes increased transparency on meat origin, also for processed products. Our customers want to know where the meat comes from and we have decided, regardless of possible legislation, to work towards more transparency of the origin of all meat products.

When will you start to label your meatballs and other processed meat products with origin?

We know it is an important question for our customers and will make it happen as soon as possible.

Why haven’t you already labelled your products with the meat origin?

Until the horsemeat issue was revealed, the supply chain of the meat was complex. The amount of sub-suppliers and origins of the meat products made it difficult to label with origin. To further secure the content of our products we are now implementing measures which include limiting the number of sub-suppliers and strengthening traceability all the way back to the farms.

Can you trace the meat all the way back to the farm?

We are developing requirements for sourcing and continue to work closely together with our suppliers to improve standards for processing of meat. The goal is to have full traceability to the farm.

How does IKEA ensure traceability on its food products, today?

IKEA require traceability for all ingredients in IKEA products including packaging material. It must be possible to follow an ingredient or product through all stages of manufacturing and distribution. Suppliers must have an action plan in place and must conduct traceability tests regularly.

All distribution centers and transport companies have transparent documentation to ensure traceability of all products through the entire supply chain. All logistic partners and their sub-contractors must comply with this demand to secure the traceability of a product in terms of food safety and quality.

Who is the third party expert you are referring to?

The third party expert is SGS which is an independent quality assurance company. Together with SGS and our supplier we have agreed on measures to prevent horse meat in meatballs and to strengthen our quality standards.

Will there be any consequences for the supplier?

The most important thing now is to take action and work closely together with our supplier. We share the same goal of full traceability and control of the entire supply chain of meat products. We have agreed on an action plan to be in place within the coming six months.

Why are you resuming sales in some markets but not in other markets?

We will gradually roll out new produced meatballs to all the markets for sale initially in IKEA Restaurants. Since the new production volumes are dependent on sourcing quality raw meat materials, delivery is limited only to a few markets initially and then other markets will gradually follow. As soon as supply is secured, we will serve meatballs in all IKEA Restaurants again, followed shortly by the Swedish Food Markets.

What are you doing with the production batches of meatballs that were produced and withdrawn?

We are working hard to find a sustainable solution for the sales stopped meatballs that may contain horsemeat. There is no health risk associated with eating the meatballs. We are in dialogue with the relevant authorities to explore possibilities to take care of the sales stopped meatballs in a responsible way, in accordance with legal demands. A decision will be made within a week when we have all the necessary information. Landfill is not an option.

How can you start selling meatballs and sausages when there are still results showing presence of horse meat? (Such as sausages in Russia)

We are releasing sales of meatballs from our main supplier in Sweden. We have secured that the new production of meatballs only contains quality raw meat material that is listed in the product specification.

IKEA Group, our suppliers as well as various local authorities have initiated several hundred DNA tests of our meat products also from other suppliers in all markets. The vast majority of these DNA tests show no indication of horse meat. However, there are also a few tests that do.

The test result from Russia concerns locally produced hotdogs and only affects the Russian market. In these cases we withdraw the product from sales and initiate the same actions as for global products.

How does IKEA secure the quality of food products? What standards do you have in place?

IKEA demand all suppliers to have an approved Food Safety Management certification e.g. BRC Global Standard for Food Safety, IFS Food, FSSC 22000 Food Products, Safe Quality Food (SQF).

Additionally, IKEA demands that all suppliers make product analysis for all products supplied to IKEA, according to requirements set by IKEA (analysis and limits) and carried out by an accredited laboratory.

Our global food suppliers are approved according to IWAY, our supplier code of conduct with requirements on environment, social and working conditions.

Does horsemeat present a danger to customers’ health?

No, horsemeat in itself is not dangerous and none of the tests we have conducted show presence of horse medication. However, 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. If any customers are concerned, they can return their meatballs to IKEA and receive a refund.

How can IKEA sell meatballs at such a low price?

At IKEA our ability to purchase larger volumes enables us to have lower costs and in turn offer lower prices to our customers. We are 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.

IKEA meatballs contain 84% meat (beef & pork). We do not tolerate any other ingredients than those stipulated in our recipes or specifications, secured through set standards, certifications and product analysis by accredited laboratories.

Can I return the meatballs I have bought at IKEA?

IKEA has withdrawn meatballs manufactured by a supplier in Sweden. If any customers are concerned, they can return their meatballs to IKEA and receive a refund.

Which countries were affected by the meatballs sales stop?

• IKEA Group countries:

Poland, Austria, Hungary, United Kingdom and Ireland, Portugal, Finland, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Sweden, Spain (mainland), France.

• Retailers outside the IKEA Group:

Bulgaria, Greece, Hong Kong, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Malaysia, Spanish Islands, Singapore, Tenerife, Thailand.

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