Russia is waging a battle against two of the United States’ biggest burger chains, according to theLos Angeles Times’Carol J. Williams.
McDonald’s is being sued by Russian food regulators for allegedly lying about the nutritional content of its burgers and Wendy’s is separately shutting down all operations in the country.
“The undeclared war on the American cheeseburger follows a two-year pattern of proxy swipes against U.S. businesses and interests in Russia,” Williams writes.
Williams speculates that growing political tensions are to blame for the crackdown.
In a recent lawsuit, Russia’s consumer safety regulator claims that investigators found harmful bacteria E.coli in some of McDonald’s wraps and salads, according to the Wall Street Journal. The lawsuit also accuses McDonald’s, which has 400 restaurants in Russia, of misrepresenting the nutritional content of its cheeseburgers, Filet-o-Fish sandwiches, chicken burgers, milk shakes and ice cream.
Separately, regulators are launching a new probe into whether McDonald’s cheese contains antibiotics.
In a statement on its Russian website, McDonald’s said it wasn’t aware of the lawsuit and claimed the nutritional value of its food is calculated according to the Russian government’s standards. The company also noted that 80% of its cheese comes from a supplier in Moscow and the rest is imported from Germany and the Czech Republic.
Following news of the new probe against McDonald’s, Wendy’s separately announced that it would be abandoning its operations in Russia due to a disagreement with the local operator of the restaurants.
Wendy’s had plans to build 180 restaurants in Russia over the course of a decade with local operator Wenrus Restaurant Group. But three years after entering the country, the burger chain had only built eight. Those outlets will now be closed, Wendy’s spokesman Bob Bertini told Bloomberg.
“Unfortunately, the new leadership of Wenrus has not expressed interest in growing Wendy’s business in Russia, nor shown they have the resources to successfully operate the existing restaurants on a long-term basis,” Bertini told Bloomberg. “As a result, we have decided not to continue business in Russia at this time.”
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