News broke Monday that Ikea’s iconic Swedish meatballs had been corralled into the widening tainted horse meat scandal that has cast an icky pall over Europe. The Czech government found horse meat in packs of frozen meatballs made in Sweden, and the retailer responded by recalling the meatballs, labeled as beef and pork, in 13 countries across the continent.
The meatballs are sold frozen in the Hicksville Ikea's little food market, and are served hot in the cafe. (A lunch special of 15 meatballs, mashed potatoes, cream sauce and lingonberry jam is $3.99.)
At first, Ikea spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson said that even though meat balls sold in the U.S. are made by the same Swedish supplier, they were not included in the recall because they were from another batch. But now Ikea U.S. has issued a new statement stating, “all meat balls sold in our Ikea U.S. stores are sourced from a U.S. supplier ... the contents of the meatballs follow the Ikea recipe and contain only beef and pork from animals raised in the U.S .and Canada.”
The drama seems to have bypassed Ikea’s Hicksville location. I stopped by the cafe Monday and no one I spoke to had even heard about the horse meat dust-up. Susan Anderson of Smithtown had meat balls for lunch and was philosophical about their makeup. “Even if they did contain horse meat, it wouldn't really bother me," she said. "I don’t get the ‘ick’ factor. We eat cows, why not horses? It’s all cultural.”
In addition to shopping for furniture and housewares, Anderson was planning to stock up on frozen meat balls to take home. “We serve them as hors d’oeuvre at dinner parties all the time,” she said. “We just served them to friends on Saturday night. Everyone loved them.”