Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has stepped into a diplomatic yogurt fight, urging Russia to allow a shipment of 5,000 Chobani Greek yogurt cups to be delivered to U.S. Olympic athletes.
Schumer said the Russian government will not allow the "protein-packed" yogurt to enter the country without customs certifications. The New York senator sent a letter to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and the head of the International Olympic Committee, asking them to deliver the yogurt to Team USA, and he noted the U.S. Department of Agriculture has ensured the safety of the yogurt and has said it is only intended for U.S. athletes.
"With the Sochi Olympic Games starting at the end of this week, there is simply no time to waste in getting our Olympic athletes a nutritious and delicious food - Chobani Greek Yogurt," Schumer said in a statement. "Unfortunately, this protein-packed, New York-made food has met a serious roadblock in the Russian Government, thanks to an unreasonable customs certificate, and they will not allow the yogurt into the country.
"Not only is this nutritious food only intended for U.S. citizens, but our own food safety experts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is willing to back the food's contents, so there is no acceptable holdup in getting this food to our athletes and ensuring that Chobani does not miss out on a critical investment," Schumer said. "Chobani Yogurt is safe, nutritious and delicious and the Russian Authorities should get past 'nyet' and let this prime sponsor of the US Olympic Team deliver their protein-packed food to our athletes."
Five thousand single-serve cups of blueberry, strawberry and peach Chobani yogurt and multi-serve containrs of plain Chobani yogurt are currently being stored in a temperature-controlled facility near the Newark International Airport.
Chobani is an official sponsor of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams.
"We appreciate Senator Charles Schumer's support of Team USA by helping us complete the delivery of Chobani Greek Yogurt to Sochi to naturally power our athletes all the way to the finish line-something we've had in the works for quite some time," Chobani said in a statement. "This is a time when the focus should be on our athletes, so we're just trying to do right by them in getting food they enjoy from home."