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Escalating Concerns about Horsemeat in Food Products

Written by Ankin Law Office

Concerns are mounting about the quality of certain food products at Ikea. Last week, the popular home furnishings store  announced that it would stop selling sausages, along  with previously-pulled meatballs provided by the same supplier, after tests confirmed “indications of horse meat” in the products. In addition to selling self-assemble furniture, Ikea stores include cafeteria-style restaurants that offer Swedish dishes, such as meatballs, mashed potatoes, and lingonberry jam.

According to USA Today, Ikea withdrew the sausages from stores throughout Europe, Hong Kong, Thailand, and the Dominican Republic. USA Today reports that horse meat has recently been found in beef dishes throughout Europe, including frozen supermarket meals and food served at restaurants, schools, and hospitals.

Although horse meat has not been found in Ikea’s stores in the U.S, which get their meatballs supplied by U.S. suppliers, the NY Times reported that, according to the Equine Welfare Alliance, shipping documents show that horse meat passed through at least one United States port  – the Port of Houston – on its way from slaughterhouses in Mexico to destinations in Europe.

Texas law bans the sale, transfer, or shipment of horse meat for human consumption, though there might be some issue about whether the Texas law is trumped by federal law. Currently, the Agriculture Department only allows the United States to import horse meat from Canada for use by zoos, which sometimes feed horse meat to lions and other large carnivorous animals.

Although no evidence of horse meat being mixed into ground beef has surfaced in the United States, several horse advocacy groups are, nonetheless, conducting their own tests of ground beef to determine whether they contain horse meat.

Health officials state that consumption of horse meat poses no health risks, though it does amount to fraudulent labeling. Product liability laws protect consumers not only from dangerous and defective products, but also against fraudulent labeling or warranties that a product is what the label says it is.

Product liability laws are highly complex and require a detailed legal and factual analysis. Moreover, product liability claims are often pursued as class action lawsuits since a large number of plaintiffs may be injured by the false or misleading information, or manufacturing defects.

The Chicago product liability attorneys at Ankin Law Offices, LLC are knowledgeable about both product liability laws and class action lawsuits that may come into play when a manufacturer or food supplier produces a dangerous product or engages in fraudulent labeling. Contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to learn more about product liability laws from an experienced Chicago consumer protection lawyer.

Categories: Product Liability