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Military Food Probe Prompts Criminal Investigation

Several dozen tons of oatmeal were seized from military warehouses on the Southern Kuril island of Kunashir after an inspection revealed that the food was infested with mites and ticks, a news report said Monday.

The federal  Veterinary and Phytosanitary Inspection service found that the food was stored in unsanitary conditions, with the storage bags stained by mold and rodent droppings, Interfax reported.

Although the Defense Ministry has since released a statement acknowledging the finding, it maintains that the unsanitary food was removed before it was fed to any soldiers, head of the Eastern Military District's press service, Alexander Gordeyev, told RIA-Novosti on Monday.

Gordeyev also denied earlier reports that soldiers had declared a hunger strike over poor-quality meals.

He said that as soon as the presence of insects was discovered in the food, infectious disease officers were called out to conduct an analysis and the food was removed.

The produce has been seized and a criminal investigation opened by the Goryachiye Klyuchi military prosecutor's office on misdemeanor charges.

According to Gazeta.ru, Slavyanka, a subsidiary of Oboronservis, a military contractor that is currently at the center of a major corruption scandal, was responsible for providing the soldiers with food. The company was reportedly fined once before by the Federal Consumer Protection Agency for food violations.

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