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A system of administrative penalties has been added to temporary closures of the fast-food chain's outlets, with the first cases reported in the southern Russian republic of Adygea and the country's third-largest city Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia.
The arbitration court in Adygea has imposed a fine of $3,000 on the only restaurant in the republic over breaches of sanitary rules revealed during food hygiene inspections.
The regulator Rospotrebnadzor is currently checking restaurants of the fast-food giant nationwide. About 15 McDonald's outlets have been temporarily closed across the country over the past months, covering locations from Moscow to the Ural mountains and from St. Petersburg to the southern Stavropol region.
McDonald’s on Monday initiated additional checks into its outlets in Russia following snap inspections in August. Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets said she hoped “everything will be brought to rights, and the situation will be remedied”.
Meanwhile, inspectors visiting locations across the country continue revealing various hygiene infringements in fast-food production - from coliform bacteria and staphylococcus aureus to traces of pork in beef burgers.
Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said Russian authorities were not planning to close down McDonald's chain nationwide.
“No one is talking about it at all [a ban on McDonald's in Russia],” Dvorkovich said shortly after inspections began. But some businessmen in Russia said checks had been driven by souring relations between Russia and the West over events in Ukraine.“Obviously it's driven by political issues surrounding Ukraine,” said Alexis Rodzianko, president and CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia.
Outlets closed as Russia introduced a year-long embargo on meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia and Norway in retaliation for economic sanctions imposed by those nations on Russia.
McDonald's operates 435 restaurants in 85 Russian cities and rates the country one of its top seven markets outside the United States and Canada, according to its 2013 annual report. The company employs nearly 37,000 people in Russia, serving more than one million customers a day.