IKEA takes the cake in new food scare

Swedish furniture giant IKEA has withdrawn its almond and butterscotch cake from its in-store restaurants in 23 countries, including Australia, after samples were found to contain a kind of bacteria normally found in faeces.

Chinese food inspectors reportedly destroyed almost two tonnes of the cake imported by the Swedish company after it was found to violate food quality standards.

IKEA has released a statement confirming that traces of coliform bacteria were found in two batches of the cake produced for its restaurants by one supplier in Sweden.

Coliform bacteria are found in the environment, including in water, soil and vegetation, and commonly found in faeces. Although the bacteria themselves do not generally pose health risks, their presence can indicate contamination by other pathogens such as E. coli.

E. coli is considered an indication of recent faecal contamination and can cause illness.

The furniture manufacturer, which has seven stores in Australia, said that the samples had been tested for E.coli but none had been found.

“There is no health risk associated with consuming this product,” a company spokeswoman said via email.

“However, since the product does not comply with our strict food quality standards we have decided to withdraw the concerned production batches from sales in our restaurants.”

The cake is still available for purchase to take home via the Swedish Food Market, the supermarket-style shop in IKEA stores.

"The batches in question affect the IKEA restaurant in Australian stores," the statement reads.

"We have withdrawn this item from our restaurant. The Swedish Food Market is not affected as this product is from a different production batch that is not in question or of concern."

Last month IKEA withdraw its frozen meatballs from sale in some of its restaurants in Europe and Asia after tests in the Czech Republic found traces of horsemeat. A company spokeswoman said Australian stores were not affected by this recall and would continue to sell meatballs.

The story IKEA takes the cake in new food scare first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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