The Swiss branch of the multinational chain issued a statement on Monday correcting information released last week that bacteria-infected cakes were not sold at its restaurants in the wake of a scandal in China.
Chinese authorities said on Tuesday that they destroyed almost 1,900 kilograms of the same cake imported by Ikea from Swedish supplier Almondy because of excessive levels of coliform bacteria.
Ikea said the cakes were seized by quarantine officials in China back in November and December 2012 but the company’s Swedish head office only learned about it last week.
“The product was stopped and destroyed,” Associated Press quoted Ikea spokeswoman Yiva Magnusson as saying.
“So none of our cakes made it to our restaurants.”
On March 5th, Ikea nonetheless said it was pulling the cakes from its cafeterias in 23 countries, including Switzerland.
In its latest statement, the company recognized that bacteria-tainted cakes were, in fact, sold in its Swiss restaurants last autumn.
“Additional research subsequently conducted revealed that 720 cakes carrying the the incriminating expiry date, liable to contain bacteria were sold in Swiss restaurants six months ago,” Ikea said.
“We regret that our statement did not mention this information until today.”
The Almondy cakes, cut into 12 pieces, carried an expiry date for 2014.
The company did not explain why the cake contained the coliform bacteria, often found in the feces of warm-blooded animals.
Ikea Switzerland, which operates 10 stores, said the bacteria found in the cakes was not a health danger and that the company had received no complaints from customers.
However, it said it was suspending sales of the cakes with the affected expiry date as a precaution and because the product failed to meet Ikea’s “strict standards with regard to food products”.
The embarrassing revelation comes after the retail giant was forced last month to remove meatballs and wiener sausages from some of its stores (those in Switzerland were not affected) because of concerns about horsemeat being used instead of beef.
Meanwhile, Swiss food giant Nestlé has also been hit by Chinese food inspections.
Inspectors destroyed 2.7 tons of chocolate bars made by the company that contained sorbitol, a sweetener that in large amounts “can cause bowel problems,” the Shanghai Daily reported online last week.