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‘Let Them Eat Dumplings’: Russian Official Rages Against School Pelmeni Ban

School catering rules outlawed the doughy dish, a mainstay of Russia’s national cuisine. Kirill Kukhmar / ТАSS

A Russian official has blasted a ban on serving pelmeni — meat-filled Russian dumplings — to schoolchildren. 

In a meeting of local bureaucrats, Moscow region Governor Andrei Vorobyov demanded answers as to why school catering rules outlawed the doughy dish, a mainstay of Russia’s national cuisine.

“If the children want pelmeni, give them pelmeni. What’s the problem?” he said, according to a recording of the regional government meeting published on social media.

Vorobyov was far from won over when told Rospotrebnadzor, Russia’s consumer health watchdog, had deemed the dumplings a “high-risk product” due to the presence of minced meat. 

Pelmeni are usually made with a mix of ground beef, mutton and pork.

“No, no. Pelmeni is different,” he responded.

“There isn’t one person in this room, or who is listening to us, that wouldn’t eat pelmeni or that thinks eating pelmeni is dangerous. Any food can be dangerous.” 

The governor went on to reminisce about eating pelmeni in his school days — a delicacy he said he does not want today’s schoolchildren to forgo.

“In our days, one of the most truly delicious dishes they served at school was pelmeni. We didn’t have burgers and fries back then.” 

Vorobyov instructed the officials to find a solution to the problem, adding that he could give approval to a specially designated “high-quality company” that would be certified to produce low-risk pelmeni for schools.

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