WASHINGTON, February 5, 2014 — Concerns over the Olympics in Sochi, Russia have spanned everything from whether there would be any snow in a beach resort town, to the safety of homosexual athletes in a country with laws that make their sexual preference a crime to the potential for terrorism by Chechen widows looking to avenge their husband’s deaths.
So far, in the earliest days of this year’s winter Olympics, as the athletes, families and press have landed, none of these concerns have proven true.
One of the only complaints, but one that is growing louder, is the lack of yogurt in the athletes’ village.
Many athletes eat natural or Greek yogurt for the high concentration of protein and low level of sugar. It is a food that is consumed as a breakfast staple by athletes around the world yet it is difficult for the confined top athletes in Sochi to locate.
American athletes have no yogurt available to them because their supply of Sochi-bound Chobani Greek Yogurt was stopped at Newark Liberty International Airport by custom officers.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer decided to become involved in this customs fight because the yogurt-maker is headquartered in upstate New York.
Schumer sent a letter to the Russian Ambassador as well as to the International Olympic Committee head asking for the American athletes to be allowed to have their yogurt, writing “I understand the need for high food safety standards for dairy products,” Schumer said in the letter. “However, the U.S. government has confirmed that sanitary standards have been met to ensure that this yogurt will be safe for consumption by American Citizens attending and participating in the 2014 Winter Olympics.”
Schumer said in a statement on Tuesday, “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.”
If the situation is not resolved quickly, the yogurt will need to be disposed of for safety concerns.