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Wimm-Bill-Dann Accused of Promoting Homosexuality on Milk Cartons

A page from the website of the Jolly Milkman brand.

A nationalist organization has accused food and beverage giant Wimm-Bill-Dann of promoting homosexuality by including a rainbow on the packaging of its Jolly Milkman products.

The St. Petersburg office of the group People's Council (Narodny Sobor) has filed a complaint with the Prosecutor General's Office regarding the offending dairy products.

The rainbow is "the international symbol of the homosexual movement," Anatoly Artyukh, head of the group's St. Petersburg branch, told Interfax on Friday.

"I consider it to be blatant promotion of vice," he said.

The St. Petersburg city legislature passed a law in March instituting fines for the "promotion of homosexuality to minors." Companies can be fined up to 500,000 rubles ($16,000) for violating the law.

The traditional packaging for the Jolly Milkman line of dairy products apparently does not feature a rainbow, according to images on the brand's website. But a limited-edition series of milk cartons released under the brand does contain a rainbow.

Wimm-Bill-Dann, the country's largest food and beverage producer, has been selling dairy products under the Jolly Milkman (Vesyoly Molochnik) brand since 2000. Goods including milk, yogurt, kefir and tvorog are sold under the brand nationwide.

Wimm-Bill-Dann is owned by PepsiCo, which bought the company in 2010 for $3.8 billion.

Artyukh vowed to organize protests against products sold under the brand beginning next week.

People's Council has fought against what it has described as homosexual propaganda before, including by pop singer Madonna. The group sued Madonna last month following a concert she gave in St. Petersburg at which she spoke in favor of gay rights.

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