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Chobani Will Donate Delayed Yogurt

Chobani’s quest to get its Greek yogurt to the Sochi Olympics is coming to an end.

Chobani yogurt
Snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis hands out Chobani at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Countdown in October in New York City. (Rommel Demano, Getty Images)

The company said Wednesday that it plans to donate a shipment of about 5,000 cups of yogurt it had hoped to send to U.S. athletes at the Winter Games to food banks in New York and New Jersey.

The shipment has been held up in a refrigerated warehouse at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport since Russian authorities said the U.S. Department of Agriculture failed to provide a necessary certificate under its customs rules.

“We decided that if we didn’t have a resolution by today, we were going to donate the products,” said Peter McGuinness, Chobani’s chief marketing officer, in a phone interview. He said that the games are already well underway and there was no resolution to the yogurt dispute in sight.

Last week, Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya made the company one of few to explicitly say it was against Russia’s anti-gay law. McGuinness said he doesn’t think the yogurt holdup was related to that statement in any way.

Ulukaya said he is disappointed that athletes won’t be able to get the yogurt, but that he’s happy that the products will be heading to food banks.

The New Berlin, N.Y.-based company, which is a Team USA sponsor, said the yogurts will likely be delivered to the food banks on Friday. Chobani says its Greek yogurt is good for about 60 days and that there should be no issues with the quality of the yogurt being donated.

(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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