Russia has shut down four McDonald’s restaurants in Moscow for sanitary violations after a consumer watchdog filed a suit demanding certain burgers and milkshakes be banned on the grounds the fat, protein, carbohydrates and calories they contain “deviate widely from technical norms”.
“Violations have been found that put the quality and safety of food products in doubt for the whole McDonald’s chain,” said Anna Popova, Russia’s head sanitary inspector.
The Golden Arches are now in the Kremlin’s crosshairs as ties between Moscow and Washington have fallen to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War. Restaurants are being forced to close amid claims the restaurant is misleading customers about what they are actually being served.
Reuters reports that the national consumer watchdog claims McDonald’s is deceiving consumers about the energy value of its Cheeseburger Royales, Filet-o-Fish, Cheeseburgers and Chicken Burgers and about nutritional value of its milkshakes and ice creams.
Its also said in a statement that Caesar wrap sandwiches and a vegetable salad were contaminated with coliform bacteria, which indicates the likelihood of food poisoning.
According to Russia 24, one survey suggests 60% of Russians think all McDonald’s restaurants should be closed.
The national monitoring service for consumer rights and well-being announced that one of the outlets that has been forced to close is the iconic restaurant on Pushkin Square that opened just before the fall of the Soviet Union.
The Guardian reports that McDonald’s restaurants in Russia are almost always crowded. Thousands of people waited hours in line to try a “Beeg Mek” when the first restaurant opened on Pushkin Square in 1990, an event that became symbolic for an era of sweeping political and economic changes.
Russian reaction to the restaurants’ closure on Twitter was largely sardonic, with one user pointing out that McDonald’s was the official restaurant of the Sochi Olympics.
“I did not speak out when they came for the right to assemble. I did not speak out when they came for the right to free speech. BUT I WON’T LET THEM TAKE AWAY MY RIGHT TO BE FAT,” a Russian user named Mikhail Kafanov tweeted.