Danone offended by Russian agriculture minister's statement

Danone Russia has angrily assailed Russian Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov's critical remarks about it and wants Fyodorov to denounce them as damaging the company's business reputation.

It said in a statement, citing media reports, that Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov had accused two largest food companies working in Russia - Danone and PepsiCo (Will-Bill-Dunn) - of faking their products and damaging Russian producers.

Danone Russia and all of its employee are profoundly insulted by this statement, the company said. It was offended by a statement of this kind coming from an official, and sees it as a direct slander, which damages its business reputation in Russia and abroad, it said. Danone Russia has been setting an example of high quality standards and food safety to other companies , which has been proven on many occasions in checks, conducted by Rospotrebnadzor and other oversight agencies, the statement says.

The company also said that it had been putting large resources and efforts into projects to promote the development of farming in Russia, to train personnel, to expand and perfect the farms in operation, and to build new ones.

Danone has been working on the Russian market for more than 20 years, the statement says. It arrived in Russia with serious intention and plans to work for long, and wants to continue working for the benefit of its consumers, clients and suppliers, Danone said. The company has 20 factories in Russia, while Danone and Unimilk's aggregate investment in Russia exceeds $2 billion, the company said.

Danone Russia demanded that the claims damaging its reputation be publicly refuted.

Fyodorov urged regional governors at a conference in Omsk on Friday to monitor more carefully companies working on the Russian dairy market which, he said, were skimming cream off agricultural producers. He blamed the two companies for counterfeiting and replacing a large part of milk fat with vegetable oil.

 

Read more: Sanctions could encourage Russians to look to their own land

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