Schumer says Putin made mistake in Greek yogurt choice

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Russian President Vladimir Putin made a "mistake" in rejecting a shipment of U.S. yogurt meant for the U.S. Olympic team.

Schumer vowed to start a campaign to press Russia to accept U.S. dairy exports. 

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“I think they have made a mistake, and we are going to start a whole campaign to open up Russia to our dairy exports in general, long after the Olympics are over,” he said in an interview with Fusion. “We want to get this done.”

Chobani ended up donating 5,000 containers of yogurt to New York and New Jersey food banks after the Russian rejection.

“This beautiful gift, they turned down even though none of the yogurt would be sold in Russia,” said Schumer, who called Putin a "tough guy."

Chobani Yogurt is made in New York state, and Russia's rejection of the shipment has created a feud of sorts between Schumer and Putin. Russia said the shipment of yogurt didn't have the proper customs certification.

The Department of Agriculture had previously sent the Russian government a sanitary certificate, requesting a one-time transfer of the yogurt for consumption by U.S. citizens during the Games. 

Earlier this month, Schumer also sent a letter to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak saying he understands food safety standards, but the U.S. has already approved it.

Schumer has been a longtime advocate for the New York-based company. He had pressed the Obama administration to add Greek yogurt to school lunch menus last year, and his state was one of four picked to lead a pilot program to add the food to school lunches.