Russian police bust $30-million contraband cheese ring
Illegally imported cheese dumped at a landfill near the village of Podgorodnyaya Prokrovka on Aug. 6, 2015. (Sergei Medvedev / TASS)
The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, August 18, 2015 5:29AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 18, 2015 7:13AM EDT
MOSCOW - Russian police say they have busted an international ring involved in producing contraband cheese worth about 2 billion rubles ($30 million), arresting six people.
The Russian government a year ago banned imports of Western cheese and other agricultural products in retaliation for sanctions imposed by the U.S. and European Union.
In recent weeks, in tacit acknowledgment that the ban has been widely violated, the agricultural oversight agency has been publicizing the destruction of tons of contraband food.
Police announced Tuesday they broke up a ring that has been supplying "as cheese a product made from cheese rennet whose import into Russia is forbidden." The product was then fixed with counterfeit labels of known foreign cheese producers and sold in supermarket chains and distribution centres in Moscow and St. Petersburg.