Russia’s consumer rights authority, Rospotrebnadzor, has won a court case ordering French supermarket chain Auchan to stop selling bulk food items in its Russian stores.
The case had been appealed, but on Monday the Moscow Arbitration Court ruled in Rospotrebnadzor’s favour. The ruling applies to bulk and unpackaged goods. The Moscow Times newspaper detailed the items as “tea, frozen shrimp, dumplings, vegetable mixes, semi-processed meat and vegetables, as well as cookies, candy, nuts and dried food.” It was not clear why only bulk or unpackaged items violate Russia’s reverse sanctions.
Rospotrebnadzor inspectors claim that Auchan routinely violates Russia’s reverse sanctions by selling products banned by the Kremlin. Auchan says that its hypermarkets offer a wide choice of goods, but the majority of items are produced in Russia.
In addition to the large “big box” supermarkets, Auchan operates a variety of branded stores ranging from inner city markets to neighborhood convenience stores. Products vary depending on the size of each store, and aside from grocery products the retailer offers furniture, garden products, children’s items and clothing.
Auchan officials have expressed belief that the repeated inspections and alleged violations stem from the Kremlin’s desire to punish French companies for Western sanctions, and the refusal of France to deliver two large “Mistrial” war ships to Russia.
Some retailers and fast food operators claim that the Russian consumer rights organization has a history of targeting Western companies for political leverage.