Russian police bust $30 million contraband cheese ring in clampdown on banned Western products

Russian police say they have busted an international ring involved in producing contraband cheese worth about 2 billion rubles ($30 million), arresting six people.

The Russian government a year ago banned imports of Western cheese and other agricultural products in retaliation for sanctions imposed by the U.S. and European Union.

In recent weeks, in tacit acknowledgment that the ban has been widely violated, the agricultural oversight agency has been publicizing the destruction of tons of contraband food.

Police announced Tuesday they broke up a ring that has been supplying “as cheese a product made from cheese rennet whose import into Russia is forbidden.” The product was then fixed with counterfeit labels of known foreign cheese producers and sold in supermarket chains and distribution centers in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

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