But the international cheese counterfeiters:
Russian police say they have broken up an international cheese smuggling ring that earned up to £20 million supplying banned western dairy products, in the latest twist in the country’s war-on-drugs style campaign against embargoed foreign food.
Russia banned a range of food products including cheese from the European Union, the United States, Canada, Norway, and Australia in 2014, in retaliation for Western sanctions imposed on Russia following the annexation of Crimea.
In a joint raid involving at least four law enforcement agencies, officers found 470 tons of banned western rennet, a substance containing enzymes used for cheese production, along with forged labels from major cheese producers, the country’s Interior Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
The “international criminal group,” which had been supplying illicit cheeses to shops in Moscow and St Petersburg, had earned two billion roubles (about £20 million) since launching their operation earlier this year, police said.
“It was established that the crime was carefully prepared, and beginning in the Moscow region in March 2015 under the guise of cheese [the group] used rennet banned from import into Russia,” the statement said.
Looks like they weren’t smuggling cheese, rather were making it with imported rennet (which, I assume at least, is what partially determines how the cheese tastes) and slamming fake labels on it. So, it’s actually domestic production replacing imported (infant industry protection!) but using foreign inputs. That’s why they’re facing fraud charges, not smuggling ones: because of he labels.