4 McDonald’s closed in Russia

Students taking online culinary classes with an interest in the politics of food should take note of this story out of Russia. The Russian government mandated the closing of four McDonald’s restaurants, all located in Moscow, on Wednesday, Aug. 20. The order for the closing of the establishments came from a consumer safety group known as the Rospotrebnadzor agency following an investigation into the ways that the franchises were handling ingredients and wastewater. According to Crain’s Business, McDonald’s currently operates 438 different franchise locations in Russia.

Among the locations closed is the very first McDonald’s to have ever been opened in the country, located near Pushkin Square. That franchise is the single largest McDonald’s in all of Russia, so its closing has raised concerns over how many people could have been affected by its violations.

Some have opined that the closing of these franchises for slightly vague reasons may be indicative of a reason more vindictive than expired food or wastewater. The United States choosing to support the Ukraine in their dispute with Russia has been drawn into conversation by some, who claim that Russia may be retaliating against signs of Americanism in their country. Though there isn’t necessarily strong evidence to suggest such a theory could be valid, the possibility cannot yet fully be ruled out. In a statement released on its website, the American fast food chain indicated that they intended to investigate the closings more thoroughly and attempt to reopen the locations.

“Our main priority is to serve our customers with top-quality menu items. We will continue taking care of our employees and will do our best to continue the success of McDonald’s business in Russia,” a representative from the company said in a statement. Meanwhile, the Rospotrebnadzor agency maintains that its actions are in no way motivated by the Ukraine conflict.

“There are complaints about the quality and safety of the products in the fast food restaurant chain McDonald’s,” the agency explained in a brief statement.

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