x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Ikea UAE takes hundreds of cakes off its shelves over bacteria fears

Swedish furniture maker Ikea has withdrawn hundreds of cakes from its stores in the UAE over fears they could contain traces of a bacteria found in human waste.

Ikea UAE has removed hundreds of cakes from its store shelves after bacteria was found in two batches. Silvia R·zgov / The National
Ikea UAE has removed hundreds of cakes from its store shelves after bacteria was found in two batches. Silvia R·zgov / The National

DUBAI// Swedish furniture maker Ikea has withdrawn hundreds of cakes from its stores in the UAE over fears they could contain traces of a bacteria found in human waste.

The company removed the chocolate and butterscotch almond cakes from its stores in Dubai and Abu Dhabi as part of a worldwide recall affecting 23 countries, after inspectors in China found higher than normal levels of coliforms - a common form of bacteria found in organic matter, including fecal matter - in two batches of the cakes.

"Traces of coliform bacteria have been found in two isolated production batches of almond cake with chocolate and butterscotch, produced from one supplier in Sweden," said a statement from Ikea UAE.

"There is no health risk associated with consuming this product."

The two batches have been destoryed. By itself the bacteria is not harmful but may indicate the presence of E.coli, which can lead to food poisoning.

"However, since the product does not comply with our strict food quality standards we have decided to withdraw the concerned production batches from sales," said the statement

Ikea is currently in talks with the supplier, Swedish company Almondy, to get a fuller picture of the situation. Concerned customers can return their products and get a refund.

An official at Dubai Municipality's Food Safety Department said they had not been involved in the recall.

"The existence of coliforms is not in itself something to be worried about," said the official. "There are coliforms in all organic produce.

"The fact that it was detected is only an indicator that something else might also be there.

"This is a purely precautionary measure by Ikea and it's something the public shouldn't be overly worried about."

He said although the municipality's food inspectors had not carried out tests on the contaminated cakes he did not rule them out doing so in future.

nhanif@thenational.ae