Nearly a quarter-century after McDonald’s arrived in Russia, the company is now facing a suit that could ban it from selling some of its signature products. The Russian consumer protection agency said Friday it is taking the fast food company to court for selling items that contain more fats and carbohydrates than are allowed by national regulations. According to the statement, some food was found with microbial contamination and several items had caloric values two to three times higher than allowed by national regulations. Products that were mentioned for incorrect nutritional information were cheeseburgers, Royal Cheeseburgers — the local equivalent of the Quarter Pounder — fish sandwiches and several milkshake varieties.
We have identified violations which put the product quality and safety of the entire McDonald’s chain in doubt.
Anna Popova, head of Russia’s consumer protection agency
The suit comes amid especially high tensions between Moscow and Washington over the Ukraine crisis; the United States has slapped an array of sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine for allegedly supporting separatist rebels who are fighting in eastern Ukraine. There’s no demonstrable connection between the McDonald’s suit and the tensions, but the consumer protection agency, Rospotrebnadzor, has a history of actions that appear to dovetail Russia’s political agenda. As tensions between Russia and Georgia escalated before their 2008 war, Russia banned the import of Georgian wine and mineral water — two of its major export products — for failing to meet sanitary norms.