Record-Breaking European Heat Wave Forces Ikea to Take Meatballs Off Menu in Poland

No meatballs for you, Poland!


When the polar ice caps melt, the sea invades our shores, and a blistering sun ravages the earth through our long evaporated atmosphere, this is what our future will look like: There will be no meatballs at Ikea.

Okay, so that’s a slight bit of hyperbole, but with Europe baking under a historic heat wave, this imaginary post-apocalyptic future has already arrived in Poland. Forced to restrict electricity supplies there to major users, Swedish furniture outlet Ikea has closed one of its stores in Poland and taken hot items off its menu in its other outlets there, including, yes, meatballs, Bloomberg reports.

“We limited the use of lighting and air conditioning, while monitoring that the temperature doesn’t rise,” Ikea spokeswoman Katarzyna Balashov told the news wire. “There will be time to look at the fall in sales later. Right now, we are trying to ensure safety.” A spokesperson for Ikea in the United States did not immediately respond to questions Tuesday as to why the electricity restrictions had required meatballs to be taken off the menu.

Europe is currently suffering through its second major heat wave this summer. Last week, more than 100 German towns broke their all-time heat records, and that same heat wave has now shifted further east, resulting in rising temperatures in Poland and other Eastern European countries. Given the resulting strain on the power grid, industrial power supplies have been scaled back for the first time in nearly 30 years, causing the meatball outage at Ikea.

And as the climate continues to change under the strain of carbon emissions, it is likely that we will see more heat waves such as these. Scientists hypothesize that as the jet stream changes with the melting of the arctic ice cap, high pressures systems such as the one currently sitting atop Eastern Europe can more easily become “blocked” into place, resulting in long stretches of dangerously hot days — and perhaps no meatballs at Ikea.

Photo credit: RADEK MICA/AFP/Getty Images

Elias Groll is a staff writer at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @EliasGroll

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