Feb. 25 - Europe's food industry is back under the spotlight as Ikea becomes the latest retailer to be embroiled in the horsemeat scandal and an investigation begins into possible organic egg fraud in Germany. Sonia Legg reports.
A new food scare in Europe - not horsemeat this time but eggs. German authorities are investigating a possible large-scale fraud by egg producers. 200 farms are suspected of selling eggs from hens kept in overcrowded conditions under the organic label as they cost 10 cents more than standard ones. German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner GERMAN AGRICULTURE MINISTER, ILSE AIGNER, SAYING: "If it says organic on the box, what's inside needs to be organic. That applies to free range too. The authorities now seem to be investigating if free range status was also falsely claimed." Animal Rights Watch say they're not surprised by the revelations. They say this video was shot last October at a farm in one of the affected regions. There's no evidence the pictures have anything to do with the investigation but they come at a critical time for the European food industry. Another high profile retailer has just been ensnared in the horsemeat scandal. A batch of Ikea meatballs has been pulled from shelves after inspectors in the Czech Republic discovered they contained horsemeat. (SOUNDBITE) (Czech) CZECH VETERINARY AUTHORITY SPOKESMAN JOSEF DUBEN SAYING: "It doesn't mean that these products are hazardous to people's health, but this is false labeling, meaning that the horsemeat was used as a cheaper replacement for beef or some of it was mixed into the product but not declared." The batch was made by Swedish supplier Familjen Dafgard. It's been on sale in Britain, Portugal the Netherlands and Belgium - just four of the many European countries now investigating the horsemeat scandal which began last month in Ireland. Irish Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has been discussing the issue with colleagues in Brussels. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IRISH AGRICULTURE MINISTER SIMON COVENEY SAYING: "What we need now is to establish the extent of the problem by having an EU wide DNA testing program for a period of time, which has already been agreed in terms of how we would do that, and we need to talk about future measures that we may have to take to insure that this never happens again." Sweden's representative in Brussels said the meatball withdrawal was "awful" and would damage Ikea's reputation. The reputation of Europe's vast and complex food industry is looking pretty damaged too.