Russian Response to New Sanctions Could Devastate McDonald’s McChicken with Cheese Market

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Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 31 2014 7:40 PM

Russian Response to New Sanctions Could Devastate McDonald’s McChicken with Cheese Market

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This could get ugly.

REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk REUTERS

This week, the U.S. and European countries upped the sanctions ante on Russia, targeting the country’s arms, energy and banking sectors. The idea is to hit the Kremlin where it hurts—the pocketbook—to dissuade the country's support of pro-Russia rebels fighting in Ukraine. Russia had previously returned sanctions fire mostly with fiery rhetoric and travel bans on Americans that probably weren’t planning on vacationing in Moscow anytime soon. Reports out of Russia this week, however, indicate the Kremlin is ready to raise the stakes of the sanctions tit-for-tat, Bloomberg reports, with a retaliatory safety investigation into McDonald’s cheese. As if the threat of taking on the golden arches wasn’t punishment enough, Russia said it is also mulling a ban on the import of chicken from the U.S. There have been no reports of a run on McChicken with cheese sandwiches in the country.

Here’s more from Bloomberg on how the sanctions might affect McChicken with cheese availability in Russia:

Russia’s food safety agency said it may ban imports of U.S. poultry and some European fruit due to contamination of the products, according Bloomberg BNA, citing Russian state media. The food safety agency, known as Rosselkhoznadzor, also said it will examine suppliers of McDonald’s cheese for their use of antibiotics…. Officials from McDonald’s, based in Oak Brook, Illinois, didn’t respond to a request for comment.
While Russia and the U.S. have long sparred over agricultural trade, the actions fueled speculation they could be retaliatory. The 28-nation European Union and the U.S. plan to impose stiffer sanctions to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government… Russia was the second-largest market, after Mexico, for U.S. chicken last year, according to the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council. The U.S. exported about $309 million worth of broiler chickens to Russia last year, according to the council.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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