MOSCOW, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- Russia's customer right watchdog said Wednesday it has temporarily shut down four McDonald's restaurants in Moscow, including the first ever outlet in the country, citing sanitary violations.
"During the snap inspections on Aug. 18-20, sanitary rules violations have been detected in those fast-food outlets. Administrative cases have been initiated and will be passed to the courts," said the watchdog, known in Russia as Rospotrebnadzor, in a statement.
Inspections of other outlets pertaining to this chain will continue, it added. The chain currently operates over 430 outlets throughout Russia.
Mcdonald's Russian franchise said in a statement that, "We are studying the essence of the claims to determine the steps necessary to open the restaurants for the customers as soon as possible."
The consumer watchdog agency made its first checks in May in the city of Veliky Novgorod, the state-run news agency RT.com reported.
"The Caesar roll and vegetable salad have been found to contain microbe pollution with E. coli bacteria and 10 times the safe level of microbes," the agency said at the time.
The move against the U.S. fast food company came against the backdrop of Western sanctions against Moscow over the Ukraine crisis and the Kremlin's counter-measures banning the import of food from the West.
On Aug. 7, Russia banned import of agricultural products from the United States and its allies.
On Aug. 12, the Russian Investigative Committee searched a St. Petersburg-based office of the Finnish Valio company which supplies dairy products to Russia. On Tuesday, Russia also banned import of frozen beef from Ukraine, citing consumer safety concerns.
Russia's first Mcdonald's outlet opened on Moscow's Pushkin Square in 1990 in the last days of the Soviet Union, a sign widely seen that Cold War tensions with the United States started to thaw.