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IKEA India stops serving biryani and samosas after its caterpillar fiasco

Reuters/Subrat Patnaik
Quick fix.
By Suneera Tandon
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

An unintended ingredient has soured the appetite at IKEA’s 1,000-seater restaurant in Hyderabad, India.

The world’s largest furniture retailer has pulled two dishes from the menu after a caterpillar was found in a serving of vegetable biryani last week. On Sept. 05, the Swedish giant said it will temporarily withdraw the dish, along with samosas, till an internal review of the incident is done.

“IKEA takes food safety and quality very seriously and customer health is always a priority. Following an incident on Aug. 31, 2018, when a customer encountered a foreign object in the dish he ordered, IKEA India has voluntarily stopped sales of two of its most appreciated products—vegetarian Biryani and samosa, sourced locally in India,” the company said in a statement on Sept. 04. “IKEA follows strong internal processes to secure quality and takes full responsibility for its supply chain. IKEA India has initiated an internal review in order to take any corrective actions as needed.”

The Hyderabad municipal authority slapped the company with a fine of Rs11,500 ($163) following the incident, which is IKEA’s first blooper in India, a market it waited for six years to enter.

The incident has come as yet another instance of food hygiene lapse marring, at least temporarily, popular retail chains’ reputation in India. In IKEA’s case, the onus is now on the Nagpur-based Indian restaurant chain, Haldiram’s, which supplies vegetable biryani to the Hyderabad store.

IKEA opened its maiden Indian store last month to a full house and customers frequently queued up at the company’s largest restaurant in the world. With its emphasis on getting Indians to eat while they shop, the company has kept prices low.

Now it could take a while to recover from the caterpillar fiasco.

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