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Ikea withdraws chocolate cake after tests find bacteria

A public worker rides a bicycle in front of an Ikea shop on March 6 in Shanghai, China. Chinese authorities say they have destroyed nearly two tons of chocolate cake imported by Sweden's Ikea for violating food quality standards.

LONDON — Furniture chain Ikea has removed chocolate cake from store restaurants in 23 countries after authorities in China identified high levels of bacteria commonly found in human and animal feces in one batch of the treat.

However, none of the contaminated batch had been shipped to stores in the U.S. and the food in question — an almond, chocolate and butterscotch cake — had not been sold as a take-home product.

"This is not a product recall," Ikea spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson said. "There’s no risk that anyone has a contaminated cake at home in their freezer."

The contamination came to light earlier this week when the Shanghai quarantine bureau revealed it had destroyed 4,100 pounds of imported Ikea chocolate cake that was found to contain excessive levels of coliform bacteria.

The food, from a supplier based in Sweden, was destroyed in November and December, but Ikea’s head office only found out about it Monday.

As a precaution, Ikea announced it had removed the cake from sale in 23 countries. Magnusson said there was no health risk. "None of the [affected] cakes made it to our restaurants," she said.

Czech Republic officials say traces of horse meat were discovered in frozen packages of meatballs sent to their country for sale at furniture giant Ikea. NBCNews.com's Dara Brown reports.

Some forms of coliform bacteria are commonly found in the environment and Ikea said the type found in Shanghai did not pose a health risk. However, it said its own quality controls required no coliform be present at all.

This latest food scare came just days after Ikea's trademark meatballs were removed from sale in Europe after horse meat was found in some batches - part of a wider scandal over mislabeled meat there. The tainted batches were traced to a Sweden-based supplier. Meatballs sold in Ikea’s US stores contain only beef and pork from animals raised in the U.S. and Canada.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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