A massive shipment of locally-produced Chobani yogurt is trapped in the Newark International Airport because Russia will not allow it to enter the country.
Chobani is an Official Sponsor of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams. The shipment was meant for Olympians and people working for the NBC Olympics crew.
The Russian government is not allowing the shipment to proceed until it gets specific Customs certifications, which New York State Senator Charles Schumer calls â??unattainable.â??
According to Schumerâ??s office, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has requested the Russian government approve and USDA sanitary certificate that assures the yogurt is safe and can move forward in delivery. The yogurt would only be going to American citizens.
Schumerâ??s office says Chobani has completed all necessary paperwork yet still awaits the needed food safety certificate. The USDA has also contacted the Russian Federationâ??s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance to seek permission to use an AMS sanitary certificate that would allow a one-time delivery of the non-commercial Chobani yogurt shipment into the country.
Schumer says this is an important marketing and business opportunity for a New York company that cannot be skipped over.
Below you can read a copy of Senator Schumerâ??s letter to the Russian Ambassador and the head of the International Olympic Committee:
Dear Ambassador Sergey Kislyak:
I write today to bring to your attention an urgent issue that has resulted in the shipment of Chobani Greek yogurt for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games being withheld entry to the Russian Federation. As the United States and its Olympic athletes prepare for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games which commence later this week, the Russian Federation should accept the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)â??s AMS sanitary certificate for a one-time non-commercial shipment of Chobani Greek yogurt to U.S. athletes and staff.
As you know, the USDA has sent a letter to the Russian Federationâ??s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) requesting permission for Chobani to be able to supply U.S. athletes during the games. The USDA is seeking the approval of an AMS sanitary certificate for export to the Russian Federation, which would be only for a one-time shipment of Greek yogurt and solely for the consumption of U.S. citizens during the 2014 Olympic games.
I understand the need for high food safety standards for dairy products. However, the U.S. government has confirmed that sanitary standards have been met to ensure that this yogurt will be safe for consumption by American Citizens attending and participating in the 2014 Winter Olympics. As the world looks forward to a successful 2014 Winter Olympics, I urge your countryâ??s immediate approval of the entry of this shipment of Chobani Greek yogurt.
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.
Charles E. Schumer