Caught in a trade dispute with Russia, Chobani is donating the 5,000 cups of Greek yogurt originally intended for American Olympic athletes competing in Sochi, Russia, to food banks in New York and New Jersey. See our earlier story.
"As a proud supporter of the Olympics and Team USA over the past four years, we're disappointed our athletes won't be able to enjoy Chobani while they compete in the games as we all hoped, and are deeply appreciative to everyone who tried to help get it there, especially Sens. [Charles] Schumer and [Kirsten] Gillibrand and various officials here at home," said Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and CEO of Chobani.
The yogurt was blocked from leaving a cold storage facility in New Jersey by Russian officials, who claim the U.S. failed to provide specific health- and safety-related paperwork necessary to allow the food to reach their country. The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) say the real reason is a 3.5-year-old trade dispute over dairy products.
The ban remains, despite Schumer's letters to Olympic officials and the Russian embassy in Washington urging the country to allow the yogurt shipment. The yogurt is getting old and the Olympics are nearly over.
"It's been a long, cold winter and we're happy incredible organizations in New York and New Jersey, who share our vision to provide nutritious foods, will be able to serve fresh cups of Chobani to those in need," Ulukaya continued. "We'll be waiting for our athletes when they come home while cheering them on every step of the way."