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Top Doctor Criticizes Burgers as Non-Russian

A McDonald’s worker preparing hamburgers. A woman complained that she found worms in a chicken burger. Vladimir Filonov

The country's chief sanitary doctor on Monday criticized burgers as being alien to the Russian diet and promised to run checks at a McDonald's restaurant in the capital after a customer complained about being served a chicken burger containing worms.

"I remind our citizens that burgers, even without worms, aren't a sensible dietary choice for the population of Moscow and Russia. This is not our food," Gennady Onishchenko said in comments carried by Interfax.

Earlier on Monday, a woman told the Kommersant FM radio station that a McDonald's restaurant had sold her a worm-infested McChicken sandwich and returned her money — but offered no compensation.

"We wrote in the complaints book that we demanded thorough checks on this restaurant. We also wrote that, ideally, we'd get compensation for moral damages," said the listener, who identified herself only as Maria.

McDonald’s made no immediate public comment about the claim.

Onishchenko, who in early June advised Russians not to eat sushi to avoid "gastrointestinal adventures," said the Federal Consumer Protection Service, which he heads, was prepared to to investigate McDonald's as a result of the complaint. He also said he backed Maria's compensation claims against the U.S. fast food giant.

"If the information is confirmed, we'll take the most severe measures in this matter," Onishchenko said.

The doctor's advice not to partake of the American staple apparently had the opposite of the intended effect on anti-Kremlin activist Maria Baronova. “Onishchenko recommends not eating burgers. I used to try to avoid them, but now I'll have to change my position,” Baronova wrote on Twitter.

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