Official Olympic sponsor Chobani yogurt is caught in the middle of an international relations debacle. The company has 5,000 containers of blueberry, strawberry and peach yogurt stuck at the Newark International Airport. The single-serve containers are bound for the Sochi Olympics in Russia, but can’t get past Russian customs.
The New York state-based company still needs highly specific customs certifications, according to the U.S. government. Without those documents, which New York State Senator Charles Schumer says are “unattainable,” the Russian government refuses to let the product in. According to Schumer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has instead asked that a USDA sanitary certificate be used, but to no avail.
The yogurt is only intended for consumption by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams. Chefs and nutritionists have given protein-rich Chobani to those same athletes in the U.S. Olympic Training Centers during the past few months.
“…there is simply no time to waste,” said Schumer in a statement earlier this week, calling the actions of the Russian government unreasonable. He has also appealed to the Russian ambassador and the head of the International Olympic Committee to let the yogurt pass.
As of Thursday afternoon, the Chobani containers were still stuck at the Newark airport.
The 2014 Olympic Winter Games, which start on Friday, is the first time that the Russian Federation has hosted the Winter Games.