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McDonald’s restaurants under probe across Russia as three Moscow outlets stay shut

Published time: August 21, 2014 12:33
Edited time: August 21, 2014 13:11
People walk past a closed McDonald's restaurant in Moscow, August 20, 2014 (Reuters / Tatyana Makeyeva)

People walk past a closed McDonald's restaurant in Moscow, August 20, 2014 (Reuters / Tatyana Makeyeva)

Investigations into the activity of McDonald’s restaurants are underway across Russia. Three restaurants – including the first one to open in Russia – were temporarily closed in Moscow over sanitary issues.

Checks in Moscow are currently being conducted in five McDonald’s restaurants.

The Moscow department of Rospotrebnadzor, the Russian consumer watchdog, said that during the checks breaches of sanitary and customer service laws were discovered.

McDonald’s restaurants in the Moscow region restaurants were the first to be scrutinized by Rospotrebnadzor.

“All McDonald’s restaurants in the Moscow region are still open. We’re acting according to Rospotrebnadzor’s recommendations and are carrying out probes within the current rules,” Moscow region head of the watchdog told Itar-Tass.

There are 71 McDonald’s restaurants in 20 cities in the Moscow region.

Rospotrebnadzor is also investigating McDonald’s in the Ural region, including big cities like Ekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk.

“The checks are being done due to the city residents’ complaints about the quality of the products. They aren’t done in every restaurant of the franchise, only in those customers complained about,” Natalia Lukyantseva, Rospotrebnadzor secretary in Ekaterinburg, explained.

No results from this probe are currently available. And in Chelyabinsk, according to the watchdog’s head in the city, Anatoly Semyonov: “Yes, we’re conducting a probe. It’s in our plans, but there are no results yet. We have two McDonald’s restaurants,” he told the Interfax news agency in the Ural region.

Checks are also underway in central Russia – apart from the capital itself and Moscow region, this covers 16 regions.

“We have a letter –an order from the federal Rospotrebnadzor agency. We’ve already started the probe. The results will be ready with the lab research that is now going on. There’s been a selection of microbiological, sanitary-chemical research,” a representative for the consumer watchdog in the city of Ivanovo told Ria Novosti.

The results are due in about three weeks.

People walk past a closed McDonald's restaurant, one of several temporarily closed by the state food safety watchdog, in Moscow, August 21, 2014 (Reuters / Maxim Zmeyev)

In the south of Russia, the Krasnodar region (home of the Olympic city of Sochi), is set to begin evaluating McDonald’s restaurants from next week, said Irina Voronkova, the regional Rospotrebnadzor representative.

“We have 11 McDonald’s restaurants in the region – four in Krasnodar, five in Sochi, one in Novorossiysk, and one in Armavir. We’re preparing documents to begin checks that will take place next week,” she told Ria Novosti.

Voronkova added that the probes had been ordered by the federal department of the consumer watchdog.

“The activity of three restaurants in Moscow has been temporarily halted. We’re now studying the essence of the submitted claims to determine the actions we need to undertake to urgently re-open the restaurants for visitors,” Svetlana Polyakova, McDonald’s PR director in Russia, told RT.

“It is evident that our main priority is that we would like to continue to provide the services and the products of quality for our customers. Also, I would like to say that we will continue to care for our employees and will do everything possible to continue our successful operations in Russia,” she added.

Despite the probes, McDonald’s isn’t giving up on its plans to open restaurants across Russia – especially in Siberia.
Three restaurants are slated for the large regional center of Novosibirsk and two in Omsk.

However, Russian Vice Premier Olga Golodetz declared that there are no plans to do a “total probe” in Russia, and checks are carried out “according to some identified cases of breaches in hygiene.”

The first checks on McDonald’s franchises took place in the northwestern city of Veliky Novgorod in May.

“The Caesar roll and vegetable salad was been found to contain microbe pollution with E.Coli bacteria and 10 times the safe level of microbes,” the watchdog said at the time in a statement. “This means that the staff breached personal hygiene rules, and the corporate sanitary disinfection regime.”