Ikea Cakes and Other Imports Fail China’s Food Safety Standards

March 16, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings 
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. recall
[REE-kawl] (v.) – to pull out or to ask something to be returned
Example: Food companies recalled some milk products containing harmful ingredients.

2. standard [STAN-derd] (n.) – a guideline or an accepted rule that is used to measure the quality of something
Example: High food standards prevent people from getting sick.

3. scandal [SKAN-dl] (n.) – an exposed event that can harm the reputation or image of a person, a group, or a company
Example: Government officials banned the media from exposing the scandal involving the president.

4. feces [FEE-seez] (n.) – body waste from the digestive system after digesting food
Example: Farmers use animal feces to effectively enrich soil.

5. excessively [ik-SES-iv-lee] (adv.) – too much or much more than the usual
Example: Eating sweets excessively is not good for the body and may cause diabetes.

Read the text below

Ikea, a Swedish [SWEE-dish]  furniture [FUR-ni-cher] company that also sells Scandinavian snacks, recalled its almond cakes from restaurants located in 23 countries. The cakes were recalled after Chinese authorities discovered that two batches of the product failed to meet China’s food safety standards.

This is not the first time IKEA had a food scandal. Last month, the company recalled its meatballs and sausages when Czech [chek] authorities discovered that these products contained horse DNA.

According to Ikea, Chinese custom officials destroyed 1,800 “Tarta Chokladkrokant” cakes last December after learning that the cakes contained a high level of coliform bacteria. The almond cakes came from Almondy, the supplier of Ikea’s cake products, and were supposed to be delivered to Shanghai.

Coliform bacteria are often found in soil, water, and in human and animal feces [FEE-seez]. The type of coliform bacteria found in the cakes, however, does not usually cause dangerous illness. An  Ikea representative said that harmful E.coli bacteria were not found in the product.

China has become tougher on its food safety regulations because of its many food scandals over the years. Aside from destroying Ikea’s almond cakes, Chinese authorities also recently destroyed Kraft cream cheese imports, 2.7 tons of Nestle chocolate bars and other imported goods.

The Nestle chocolate bars contained a high amount of sorbitol, an artificial sweetener, which can cause digestive problems if consumed excessively. Meanwhile, Chinese officials said that the imported Kraft cheese from the US failed an expiration date test.

Viewpoint Discussion 
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

·         How do you make sure that the food you buy is clean and safe to eat?
·         Does your country have high standards of food safety? What makes you say so?

Discussion B

·         How do you think food scandals affect a company's reputation?
·         Would you still buy a product from a company with a previous food scandal? Why or why not?


March 16, 2013