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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Russia bans and destroys - Cheese and other western-made foods !

There is news of Russian police smashing  a gang producing millions of dollars worth of contraband; Six people were detained accused of making contraband worth $30m (£19m) using ingredients from the West ~and the contraband happens to be ordinary one used daily !

It is common for the photographers to ask the group to say ‘cheese’ as he tries to freeze the moment into posterity.  By uttering cheese, people generally form their mouth into a smile-like shape.  Whether that can bring glee on the sayer is perceptive…..

Cheese is a generic term for a diverse group of milk-based food products. Cheese is produced throughout the world in wide-ranging flavours, textures, and forms. Cheese consists of proteins and fat from milk, usually the milk of cows, buffalo, goats, or sheep. It is produced by coagulation of the milk protein casein. Typically, the milk is acidified and addition of the enzyme rennet causes coagulation. The solids are separated and pressed into final form. Most cheeses melt at cooking temperature.  Cheese is predominantly European – Nederlands specialises in milk and cheese products.  There are many traditional cheese markets operating there – the old scenario is remade for the tourists.  It is written that Dutch cheese farmers traditionally brought their cheeses to the market square in town to sell.

The contraband in news is ‘cheese’, produced locally with Western rennet, an enzyme base used in cheese production that is now banned in Russia. The “criminal gang” had been peddling its illicit cheese since March, according to a police statement, selling it to supermarket chains and other distributors in and around Moscow and St. Petersburg.The police raided 17 sites, including residences and warehouses, the statement said, and arrested six people, who are to face charges of fraud and other crimes.The raids were part of a new government effort to make sure that the ban is respected — and a tacit admission that it had been subverted. The government also opened a hotline on Tuesday, encouraging Russians to snitch on suspected food scofflaws, and it generated more than 50 calls the first day, the prosecutor general’s office announced.

About two weeks ago, tons of cheese, fruits and other goods were either burned or buried on the orders of Mr. Putin.That prompted some applause, but also grumbling that the food should have been donated to the poor in a country where food prices have doubled, and in some cases tripled, because of sanctions and the nosediving value of the ruble.

In a political overtone, Russia has destroyed Western-made cheese and other foods after banning some imports in retaliation for sanctions over Crimea's annexation.This follows a decree signed by President Vladimir Putin, ordering that food breaching sanctions be destroyed.More than 370,000 people have backed an online petition calling on Mr Putin to give the food away to the poor instead of destroying them. President Vladimir Putin defended his edict ordering the destruction of food brought into the country, in breach of a year-old embargo imposed in retaliation for Western sanctions over the Ukraine conflict.

Russia’s food safety agency said it destroyed around 180 tonnes of fruit including peaches, nectarines, cherries and grapes that crossed over the border from Belarus, and were “falsely” marked as coming from Turkey. According to the agency, another 40 tonnes of fruit were seized and destroyed at a landfill site close to the border, which was reported in a separate statement. This is in addition to about 319 tonnes of food that was destroyed earlier this month, including some meat from Italy which was burned in a garbage incinerator at Saint Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport.

So certainly ‘cheese’ is not bringing out smiles..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19th Aug 2015.

Inputs taken from various sources including BBC  & NY Times.

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