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McDonald's shuts 3 of 4 outlets where consumer watchdog finds ‘violations’

August 21, 2014, 3:16 UTC+3 MOSCOW
"We are closely studying the subject of the documents to define what should be done to re-open the restaurants as soon as possible," the McDonald’s headquarters said in a statement
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©  ITAR-TASS/Artyom Geodakyan

MOSCOW, August 21 /ITAR-TASS/. Russian division of McDonald's on Wednesday shut three of the four outlets in Moscow where Russia’s consumer rights federal watchdog agency, Rospotrebnadzor, had exposed ‘violations’ of sanitary safety requirements, the company said in a report.

"We are closely studying the subject of the documents to define what should be done to re-open the restaurants as soon as possible," the McDonald’s headquarters said in a statement.

It stressed at the same time its determination to continue operations in Russia where McDonald's has 435 ventures at the moment catering more than a million customers a day.

Company executives in Moscow declined to make any further comments or to assess the financial losses from one day of idling of any outlet.

“We won’t be assessing any losses but it’s another thing that people will be left without employment and will lose their wages,” Nina Prasolova, McDonald’s official representative in Russia told Itar-Tass.

One of the outlets affected by the provisional shutting is the historic restaurant at 29, Bolshaya Bronnaya Street, widely known across the former USSR as the McDonald’s on Pushkin Square, the company’s first-ever outlet in the Soviet Union.

McDonald’s was the first Western fast-food caterer to tread the swathes of Russia. On the date of opening on January 31, 1990, the outlet on Pushkin Square was visited by 30,000 people, which set an absolute record in terms of daily attendance.

For millions of Muscovites and people who came to this city in the early 1990’s, the place will be remembered for the huge lines of aspirants wishing to get inside the first restaurant. They would be inescapably pointed out by all the tour guides during bus tours of the city.

Even now that the furor has calmed down and McDonald’s outlets have become landscape features and parts of everyday reality in 85 Russian cities, the restaurant on Pushkin Square is one of the company’s most visited outlets in the world.

Somewhat earlier, Rospotrebnadzor issued complaints over the quality and safety of the chain’s produce. It said in part that the food energy and nutritional value of the meals offered by McDonald’s did not match the specifications, which the chain declared for the customers.

Rospotrebnadzor said the decision on closing the outlets followed the inspections held from August 18 to August 20, in the course of which encroachments on sanitary regulations had been exposed.

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