Arla Foods donates 15 tonnes of Putin cheese to Danish food bank

By Mark ASTLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

Arla Foods donates 15 tonnes of Putin cheese to Danish food bank

Related tags: European union, Arla

Arla Foods has donated 15 tonnes of cheese produced for the Russian market to a food bank in the Danish capital Copenhagen.

Fifteen tonnes of Arla Apetina brand feta-style cheese and Arla Natura brand cream cheese, manufactured by Arla in Denmark, will be delivered in installments throughout November to Foedevare Banken, Arla announced earlier today.

The cheese had been destined for Russia, but the August 7 one-year ban on the import of agricultural products, including cheese, from the European Union (EU), the US, Australia, Canada, and Norway put paid to its plans.

Arla was, as a result, left with a large amount of cheese and butter in Russian packaging. 

It was fortunately able to sell "almost all"​ the stock in other markets, but the remaining "small part​" could not be repackaged and sold “either because it would be too costly to replace the Russian packaging or because some of the cheese contain spices that cannot withstand repackaging."

As reported last month, Arla even attempted to sell its remaining 'Putin cheese' in Finland, which temporarily permitted the sale of food produced for the Russian market. It plans were dashed, however, by the Finnish Food Safety Authority (Evira).

Seemingly out of options, Arla decided to donate the cheese to Foedevare Banken rather than discard it.

"There is very little left, but we do not want good food to go to waste, so we are pleased that the food bank can benefit from the remaining products that we would otherwise have had to discard,”​ said Maja Møller, corporate and social responsibility (CSR) manager, Arla Foods.

Karen-Inger Thorsen, director, Foedevare Banken, welcomed Arla's donation.

"For us, this is a very large donation, which can benefit several thousand citizens,"​ she added. "At the same time the cheese it not lost, it's a win-win situation."

With its donation, Arla follows in the footsteps of Norwegian dairy TINE.

In October, it announced it was giving away around seven tonnes of Snøfrisk cream cheese​ produced for the Russian market to a food bank in Oslo.

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