Russian government won't allow yogurt shipment to reach Team USA

Danny Lee

Looks like Team USA has some dairy drama on its hands before the Sochi Games can get underway. The controversy involves a shipment of yogurt sitting in storage back in New Jersey waiting to be transported to Russia.

Yogurt maker Chobani had set aside a supply of Greek yogurt for delivery to U.S. Olympic athletes and NBC Studios employees at the games. Apparently, the shipment is being held at Newark Liberty International Airport because of “unattainable” Russian Customs certifications, according to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

Schumer wrote a letter to the head of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak urging them to settle the matter. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has requested the Russian government approve a USDA sanitary certificate to allow a one-time delivery of the yogurt, according to the letter. It is unclear as to why the Russian government will not allow the shipment to cross its borders.

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“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,” Schumer wrote.

Chobani, an official sponsor of the U.S. Olympic team, also issued a statement on the yogurt standoff.

"This is a time when the focus should be on our athletes, so we're just trying to do right by them in getting food they enjoy from home," representatives of the upstate New York-based company said in the release.