Fecal coliforms, bacteria normally found in human and animal waste, were detected in Ikea cake sold in China, and the Chinese authorities have destroyed nearly two tons of the famous cake.
Now the Swedish furniture giant, which has stores all over the world is recalling all the cakes.
The embarrassment comes soon after the company was forced to withdraw the Swedish meatballs popular with its customers after they were found to contain traces of horse meat.
The affected batches of almond cake with chocolate and butterscotch all came from the same Swedish supplier which exports to stores across the world, Ikea said.
Yet the company claimed there was no health risk. “The production batches have, as per safety and quality routines, been tested for bacteria that can cause health issues, such as E.coli, and none of these pathogen bacteria have been found,” a spokesman said.
“However, since the product does not comply with our strict food quality standards we have decided to withdraw the concerned production batches from sale in the 23 affected countries.”
The countries concerned are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates.
Thousands of Twitter users immediately expressed outrage – both humorous and genuine – as the news unfolded. “Gross – I ate that cake last month!” wrote one. “Wow! Horsemeat doesn’t seem so bad now does it,” said another.