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Russia Blocking Yogurt from Reaching U.S. Olympians

Alex Van Buren
Food Features Editor
February 6, 2014

Photo credit: StockFood

Add one more log (SnowdenSyria) to the fire of the strained relationship between the United States and Russia. In what the New York Times has coined a “dairy drama,” Russia is holding up a shipment of 5,000 single-serve containers of Chobani yogurt, saying that Americans didn’t obtain the proper customs paperwork to get them to our Olympic athletes

The packages are stuck at Newark Airport (a familiar experience to any of us who have ever traveled through that fine place). Chobani is a sponsor of the American Olympics team, and its Greek yogurt is part of the regimen of players including bobsledder Jamie Greubel.

Lots of entertaining quotes have emerged from the conflict, including one from a Chobani CMO—“I’d like to think that yogurt could have diplomatic immunity”—and Senator Chuck Schumer: “The Russian authorities should get past ‘nyet.’” The Obama administration has even gotten involved

Since the Sochi Winter Games start today, the kerfuffle has quickly become the subject of many sage and not-so-sage tweets. There are those invoking the Cold War to those with opinions on the caliber of Chobani versus other Greek yogurts: 

All of the press could couldn’t be better timing for Chobani, after the news broke in December that its product was being dropped from Whole Foods due to GMOs. Anticipate a Chobani stampede at the local grocer.