McDonald’s has been the defendant in its share of lawsuits, the most infamous of all brought by a woman who spilled hot coffee in her lap.
Eye roll, please. This time, however, no one’s rolling any eyes.
This time the bear of the east has reared up to take on this American conglomerate.
Russia does not take kindly to deception, even from Ronald McDonald.
No Clowning Around Here.
The accusation: McDonald’s stands in violation of nutritional and safety codes. All its foods are prepared in Russia and McDonald’s asserts that it abides by Food Institute regulations. The consumer protection agency, however, says that the nutritional values of some foods are misrepresented and E.coli was found in one restaurant in May.
The lawsuit attempts to ban the production and sales of cheeseburgers, chicken and Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, ice cream and milkshakes. Head of the Rospotrebnadzor consumer protection agency Anna Popova states:
“We have identified violations which put the product quality and safety of the entire McDonald’s chain in doubt.”
No longer the Cold War but the Burger War.
It has been speculated that motivation behind the lawsuit is political in nature; some legislators pushed for McDonald’s eviction after the company closed three of its restaurants in Crimea following Russia’s annexation of the region in March.
There are currently over four hundred McDonald’s operating in Russia, whose first restaurant opened there in 1990 after 14 years of bargaining and pressure from the fast food giant. It was apparently worth the effort, as McD’s accounts for seventy percent of Russia’s fast food market, with its highest profits in the world generated there.
Seems Ronald’s family is having quite a bit of trouble lately, with Russia’s legal disputes the most recent. Food safety has become an issue in China, contention with franchisees in the U.S., and declining sales in Europe. McDonald’s sees itself as an easy target because of its astronomic success worldwide. It’s become a household name.
Business is Business, but Food is Food.
Easy target or not, the service of food is a big deal wherever it happens. If safety and quality are at issue, any government body would be negligent not to pursue corrective action.
Russia takes food seriously, it seems, as genetically-modified foods are banned there. Scientists there are cognizant of the concerns and issues surrounding food production and safety, strongly urging the government to implement a ten-year moratorium.
If indeed McDonald’s engaged in deceptive practices in its food offerings, they’ve picked the wrong place to do it. A hearing is scheduled for August 13th.