I'm sure just about everyone in the state of California has seen the headlines by now. With powerhouse news agencies like the New York Times and ABC News placing it as a front page story, it's hard not to. And as much as we'd like to think that something like this couldn't happen, authorities in the Czech Republic have confirmed that horse meat was being used in meatballs sold at IKEA stores worldwide.
At this time, it appears as if only European agencies have gotten involved in the scandal investigation though some here in the states feel that it's only a matter of time before IKEA decides to issue a full-scale product recall. Right now, the company has only withdrawn the meatballs from 14 European countries after DNA testing suggested that horse meat was present in the product.
Although no one has been injured or become ill from eating the product, it does raise concerns about food safety. Like the mad-cow disease scare during the 1990s, manufacturers now have a responsibility to provide a safe product free of harmful contaminants. And although there are strict testing regulations for cuts of meat, the same regulations are not in place for processed meats. This lack of testing could mean that diseases or food-borne illnesses could be getting into processed meats, like the IKEA meatballs that are shipped worldwide.
Even though this incident is occurring in Europe, the concern among many Californians is that a situation like this could happen here as well. We'd hope, however, that the FDA would make conscious efforts to fix any loopholes in the system that could be causing these situations to occur and hopefully put a stop to actions that could put consumers at risk of serious illness.
Source: The New York Times, "IKEA Withdraws Meatballs After Horse Meat Is Found," Stephen Castle, Feb. 25, 2013