Furniture giant Ikea has stopped selling traditional meatballs in its Swedish store restaurants after horsemeat was discovered in a batch exported to the Czech Republic.

The company, which has a store in Southampton, said the move was out of concern for ''potential worries among our customers'', adding its own controls had not shown any traces of horse.

It was not clear if Ikea would also stop selling meatballs in other countries The horse meatballs were labelled as beef and pork and were in one-kilo frozen packs sent to the Czech Republic for sale in Ikea stores there.

A total of 760 kilos (1,675lbs ) of the meatballs were stopped from reaching the shelves.

Ikea's furniture stores feature restaurants and also sell typical Swedish food, including the Kottbullar meatballs.

The Czechs also found horsemeat in beef burgers imported from Poland during random tests of food products.

Meanwhile EU agriculture ministers met in Brussels to discuss the widening scandal's fallout, with some member states pressing for tougher rules to regain consumer confidence.

They must agree on binding origin disclosures for food product ingredients, starting with a better labelling of meat products, German agriculture minister Ilse Aigner said.

''Consumers have every right to the greatest-possible transparency,'' she insisted.

She backs the German initiative; but others like Ireland say existing rules are sufficient although Europe-wide controls must be strengthened to address the problem of fraudulent labelling.

The scandal has created a split between nations like Britain who see further rules as a protectionist hindrance of free trade under the bloc's single market, and those calling for tougher regulation.