Police in the Moscow region have arrested six people in connection with a counterfeit cheese-making ring. Mo’ cheese, mo’ problems.
Russian Police busted the “international crime gang,” but not before those involved had produced approximately $30 million dollars of the illegal fromage. The gang was working to supply Russians with delicacies lost after Russia banned various Western food products in retaliation to EU and US sanctions enforced after Russia annexed Crimea.
Instead of finding ways to import foreign cheeses to sell on the newly formed charcuterie black market, the group imported Western rennet, an enzyme used to produce cheese, and simply made their own. They were caught with professional label making equipment, 1,000 pounds of rennet, and probably tons of cheese cloth. The crew’s product made it’s way into grocery stores in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Leningrad. Think of it like counterfeiting money instead of robbing a bank… except with cheese.
None of the reports specify what types of cheese were produced, but authorities are allegedly still looking into other possible members of the gang, as well as customers who bought the cheese. Imagine if you were punished for wanting to make a grilled cheese and buying Kraft Singles.
If trying to suss out which Russians have eaten fake cheese in the past year sounds a bit over the top, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Russia is opening a Banned Foods Hotline to report the sale and consumption of fake brie and Jarlsberg. Stop snitching.