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Feb 5, 2014 10:36 AM

Russian government won't import Greek yogurt for U.S. Olympians

First Whole Foods, now this? Chobani can't get no love. Cho no??

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  1. Why bother importing Greek-style yogurt from the US when Greece is just a short boat ride away from Sochi?

    13 Replies
    1. re: tardigrade

      I don't understand why my home country spent billions on bringing the Olympics to Russia only to ban one thing after another.

      1. re: HillJ

        If a goverment says to you "We are bound by a treaty to require the submission of a form giving certain assurances before allowing the importation of dairy products" and you show up with dairy products and sans form chances are you're not going to be happy in the end and it will be all your fault.
        It seems pretty clear that the US didn't bother to jump through the necessary hurdles - who knows if that was through arrogance or incompetence, but the rules are the rules and we didn't follow them.

        1. re: caganer

          I don't know that to be the case but the Russian committees making headlines for saying NO a good deal instead of WELCOME. So I stand by my original question, why host?

          1. re: HillJ

            It is the case - at least that's what the Russians claim and Americans don't deny.
            Russian customs officials are officious pricks, at least that's what I gathered in my single encounter with them.
            Multiple published accounts of encounters with Russian officialdom suggest the same.
            What I'm saying is, basically, there are certain people in the world that you just know are going to be difficult and when you see it coming, as Chobani should have, you make sure to cross your t's and dot your i's.(especially when don't really see eye to eye on much else: NSA, Syria, European missile shield, Artic oil, Ukraine...)
            You host the Olympics, if you're Sochi, because the kook who runs your country is fond of you and likes to reward his friends and flaunt his wealth and power.

            1. re: caganer

              This is why I stay intentionally naive, this kind of fodder isn't the way to happiness, only indigestion. I am 1/2 Russian, been traveling to and from diff parts since my Grandparents took me to American at the age of 3.

              Chobani is a yogurt company. We should be able to leave the politics out of it.

              1. re: HillJ

                You started a discussion about the actions of a government, an inherently political thing, and now you're suggesting that "we should be able to leave politics out of it." That makes absolutely no sense.
                Publicly posing questions of a political nature isn't a good way to remain "naive."

                1. re: caganer

                  No for me this was about the yogurt and the American athletes. I don't really have a political opinion on this at all. But you're teaching me. Like I said in the OP, first Whole Foods now the Olympics.

                  1. re: HillJ

                    ok, fair enough. In that case I'll say that Chobani is either run by morons who should have seen this coming or geniuses who did see it coming thought it would be a great marketing ploy - they keep their sponsorship and they get free press while being portrayed as the victim of a conspiracy by an unpopular power.
                    The Olympians probably all have crazy diets anyway, who knows if they really eat the yogurt. Plus, as I'm sure you know, Russians like dairy too. I'm sure there's yogurt available in Sochi (to athletes anyways - I spent a week in the Moscow Youth Palace a decade ago and breakfast every morning was a hot dog-like sausage and noodles boiled in the same water. THe press are reporting similar experiences)

      2. re: tardigrade

        I'm sure it's because Chobani paid beaucoup bucks to be the "official Greek Yogurt of the US Olympic team" or some such silliness.

        1. re: coney with everything

          I have no idea but if Chobani paid and was then banned...

          1. re: HillJ

            They did pony up $4 million for a Superbowl ad - I had never heard of them until then. It seemed surprising from a yogurt company, so maybe there is a sordid backstory.

            1. re: Veggo

              No kidding, never. On CH alone there's quite a few threads. Have you ever tasted the brand?


              1. re: HillJ

                I never tasted it, but I enjoy reading success stories, thanks for the link.

      3. Andy Cohen on Bravo did a great joke about this. He said that the Russians were blocking Greek yogurt because, like the gays, yogurt is highly cultured and deliciously fruity.

        2 Replies
        1. re: lawgirl3278

          Maybe if it had been Dannon yogurt my good Russian comrades would have felt less indifferent. If I remember correctly, early 70's Dannon ads touted their yogurt with Russian spokespeople who lived well into their 90's on a diet of the creamy goodness :)

          My how times have changed.

          1. it may have to do with Chobani having lost court battles in GB/UK/Brittain/England ...

            or something along the lines of USA based company selling "Greek yogurt" with USA milk when real Greek yogurt is available from Greece just a short distance away.

            BTW, FWIW, the owner of the US based Chobani (a turkish word for shepherd) is turkish. Russia may not want all that stuff, US yogurt co., turkish owner, etc... to start a political problem during the Olympics. Russia is already poised against turkey and may not want to deal with it right now this moment.

            8 Replies
            1. re: Gastronomos

              Gastro, Chobani is an official sponsor of the USA Olympic athletes. They should receive what they paid for for those athletes. Chobani is supporting American athletes and should be able to deliver on a paid order.

              If Sochi bid for hosting a competitive global event, they should at the very least respect and provide hospitable accommodations for US athletic breakfasts pre arranged.

              So much for the spirit of the games. Politics aside, this is suppose to be the UN of all sporting events. An opportunity to share cultures.

              1. re: HillJ

                Maybe the Russians think that if American athletes have to eat bacon every day instead of yogurt the Russians stand a better chance of beating us in the medal count.

                1. re: Veggo

                  Considering the number of talented people who have chosen to leave Russia for American bacon, yogurt, work, freedom and dreams it's really too bad the country isn't going to take this opportunity to break a few stereotypes.

                  1. re: HillJ

                    Stereotypes for sure. The future may lean heavily in their direction. ..

                2. re: HillJ

                  "So much for the spirit of the games. Politics aside, this is suppose to be the UN of all sporting events. An opportunity to share cultures."

                  The Olympics have been political for decades.

                  >1936 in Berlin with Hitler and Jesse Owens.

                  > After both World Wars, the losing countries weren't invited to the next Olympics.

                  > The 1972 Munich Massacre of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches by Palestinians.

                  > The 1976 Olympics where China refused to recognize Taiwan and their boycott of the Summer Games.

                  > The 1980 U.S. boycott of the Moscow Summer Olympics.

                  > The 1984 Summer Games where the Soviet Union boycotted the games in Los Angeles as a tit-for-tat against the 1980 boycott.

                  > 1988 Summer Games where North Korea (among other countries) boycotted the games in Seoul, South Korea.

                  It goes on and on.

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    Of course, but how silly of me to think we could keep the political debate out of a yogurt hold up. According to reports I read this week, the Chobani was held back due to health concerns transporting a dairy product. All of the unfortunate history you've provided isn't about food products. I'll have to check Google for past food hiccups related to the Olympics..

                    1. re: HillJ

                      You are correct about the health certificate, but this is not a new issue. Russia ,along with Kazakhstan and Belarus, have banned imports of US dairy products since 2010. It sounds to me like Chobani-and-the-man were trying to force the hand via the Olympics and lost.

                      1. re: Samalicious

                        I don't know. But I'm doubtful that the company alone was trying to work through the issues. And Olympic sponsors don't become sponsors without the involvement of many.