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China Finds Excessive Levels Of Coliform Bacteria In IKEA Chocolate Cake

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CBS SF Bay (con't)

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BEIJING (CBS/AP) — Chinese authorities say they have destroyed nearly two tons of chocolate cake imported by Sweden’s Ikea for violating food quality standards.

The Shanghai quarantine bureau said this week that Kraft cream cheese and 2.7 tons of Nestle chocolate bars also were among dozens of imported products destroyed in its latest round of quality inspections.

Chinese authorities have stepped up food inspections in recent years after a series of scandals over fake or shoddy goods.

The disclosure in December that suppliers of KFC violated rules on drugs use in poultry caused sales for the restaurant chain to plunge. KFC estimated sales in January dropped 37 percent and the company announced tighter quality control measures in an effort to win back customers.

The Shanghai quarantine bureau said it destroyed 1,872 kilos (4,100 pounds) of chocolate almond cake imported by Ikea that it said had excessive levels of coliform bacteria.

Ikea spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson said the cakes were destroyed in November and December but the company’s head office had only found out about it on Monday.

“The product was stopped and destroyed. So none of the cakes made it to our restaurants,” she said.

Magnusson told The Associated Press that Ikea on Tuesday also had withdrawn chocolate and butterscotch almond cakes from its restaurants in 23 countries after a batch was found to be contaminated with the coliform bacteria.

The cake, made by a Swedish supplier, was withdrawn before it was sold in Ikea restaurants.

“It posed no health hazard as it was never sold,” she said.

The Nestle chocolate contained too much sorbitol, a sweetener that in large amounts can cause bowel problems, the agency said in a statement. Phone calls to representatives for Nestle were not answered.

In an emailed statement, Kraft Foods China said it imported a batch of cheese products from the U.S. to be used only as internal samples. The company, which is part of Mondelez International Inc., said the products didn’t receive certification by the expiration date.

“We hereby sincerely apologize for all the concerns and doubts brought to consumers by this incident,” the statement said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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