The Russian arm of French hypermarket chain Auchan has been fined 25 million rubles ($373,000) after a series of inspections of its sanitary standards by the country's consumer rights watchdog, news agency RIA Novosti reported Tuesday.
The ruling by Rospotrebnadzor means that Auchan, which has faced a barrage of sanitary checks this summer, will avoid any forced closures of its stores.
“The inspections of Auchan stores in Moscow have been completed. The total amount of fines exceeds 25 million rubles ($373,000),” RIA Novosti quoted Rospotrebnadzor's head Anna Popova as saying.
Rospotrebnadzor said last month it would inspect all of Auchan's stores in Moscow. Popova said that following the inspections, several hundred employees had been suspended from work, but that no stores would be shuttered. “If we had grounds, we would have done it a long time ago,” she said, according to the Interfax news agency.
In July, Auchan was targeted by another government agency. After unscheduled examinations, Russia's agriculture watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said it had found traces of chicken, sheep and lamb DNA in Auchan's minced beef. In a statement it also accused the retailer of selling out-of-date meat products.
Some analysts have suggested that the inspections into the French company were a response to Western sanctions imposed on Russia over its role in the Ukraine conflict — something Russian authorities deny.
Auchan has acknowledged some of the reported violations and promised to eliminate them.