Big Mac Attacked: Ukraine bans McDonald's burger meat from Russia

Big Mac Attacked: Ukraine bans McDonald's burger meat from Russia

June 21, 2001 Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Ukraine banned import of McDonald's burger patties and other meat products because of fears of BSE, the Interfax news agency reported Thursday.

The ban applies to raw hamburger and other meats processed at a McDonald's facility outside of Moscow. Ukrainian health officials recently inspecting the plant concluded its processing procedures could cause the importation of BSE, or the "Mad Cow" disease into Ukraine.

Belgian, German,and Danish meat processed at the Moscow facility contained remains of brains or spinal cords, Ukrainian inspectors found.

The Ukrainian branch of McDonald's imports 70 tons of pre-fab meat patties and other meat products each month. The Moscow plant in addition supplies most McDonald's restaurants operating in the former Soviet Union.

Ukrainian health inspectors are taking a "no chance" approach towards BSE, which has not been detected in the country. Import of German meat has been illegal in Ukraine since December 2000.

The ban does not apply to meat processed other McDonald's facilities in Russia and in Ukraine, the report said.

If enforced, the ban could nevertheless monkey wrench McDonald's operations in Ukraine, forcing the firm to import meat products from more expensive sources in central and west Europe.

A McDonald's press release in Kiev said the corporation was ready to maintain Ukrainian health inspectors permanently in its Moscow plant in order to confirm health standards.

McDonald's "guarantees" the quality of its food products, the release said.

McDonald's, though one of the most successful foreign firms operating in Ukraine, has had its share of run-ins with zealous Ukrainian government officials.

In the late 1990s bureaucrats from the Ukrainian consumer protection agency tried to force McDonald's to take its French fries off the menu, on grounds restaurant employees do not weigh the portions ahead of time.

McDonald's initially ignored the citation, and then responded with a programme of close cooperation with consumer protection officials, and an expensive Ukrainian ad campaign devoted to the high quality of McDonald's products. dpa sbk eg

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