The Chobani company posted an image of rainbow-colored stack of yogurt cups online Saturday to protest Russia’s anti-gay laws, and in the meantime, thousands of cups of its Greek-style yogurt are still sitting in the U.S., intended for American athletes competing in Sochi.
"It's disappointing that in 2014 this is still an issue," Chobani's CEO, Hamdi Ulukaya, told The Associated Press
. "We are against all laws and practices that discriminate in any way, whether it be where you come from or who you love — for that reason, we oppose Russia's anti-LGBT law."
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On Friday, Chobani posted an image on Twitter of stacked yogurt cups in the colors of the rainbow with the tagline “Naturally Powering Everyone,” a protest to Russian laws that prohibit the public expression of homosexual love.
But it does not appear the company's stance is the reason for the yogurt hold. It's against Russian policy to import any American yogurt into the country, which is why the Chobani yogurt intended for consumption by the U.S. Olympic athletes and newscasters is currently stranded in a warehouse in New Jersey.
The yogurt was made in upstate New York and Sen. Charles Shumer (D-N.Y.) was doing everything he could to get the yogurt sent to Russia as soon as possible.
“The Russian Authorities should get past 'nyet,'" Schumer said in a statement, according to The Washington Post
, “and let this prime sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Team deliver their protein-packed food to our athletes.” Schumer also tweeted:
The Chobani company lauded Schumer’s diplomatic efforts in its own statement that read, "At a time when the focus should be on our athletes, this seems to be a bureaucratic issue and we appreciate the support and efforts to do right by our athletes."
Russian authorities are asking for a food safety certificate before allowing the Chobani yogurt into Sochi. Schumer said the U.S. Department of Agriculture has sent Russia a letter, asking that the certificate be approved. Russia has yet to lift a three-year embargo of U.S. dairy products.
The Los Angeles Times said that Chobani officials have filled out
the necessary documents for the approval of the certificate but that Russian authorities continue to block the yogurt from getting into the country.
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