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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Authorities Fine Stockmann For Carrying Expired Goods

City health authorities have fined the Finnish-owned Kalinka-Stockmann supermarket 20 million rubles ($4,377) for having food on its shelves that was slightly past its used-by date and for selling pet food without a license.

The supermarket on Zatsepsky Val, one of the oldest foreign-owned stores in Moscow, was visited in a routine inspection by city officials who discovered seven types of just-expired food products. They found the shop was also stocking two product lines -- 22 strawberry cakes and five cheeses -- that did not bear labels indicating production or use-by dates.

"We would not say it's a bad shop," said Larissa Korzhneva, head of the Moscow Central Region State Trade and Consumer Protection Inspectorate. "It was just not sufficiently controlled in terms of product quality -- someone did not do their job properly. What's a few packets really?"

She added that the store manager had been unaware that a license was needed to sell pet food.

The expired items included six cartons of mandarin orange juice six days out of date, four packs of chicken breasts one day out of date, and 14 mushroom salads one day out of date.

The supermarket, which opened in 1989, is part of a chain of four Kalinka-Stockmann stores in Moscow -- a supermarket, two fashion boutiques, and a car and home supplies store.

"We have 5,700 separate items on the [supermarket's] shelves," said the company's Moscow area manager, Jussi Kuutsa, Tuesday. "In this case, it was a simple case of human error that some products had expired but not been removed from the shelves."

He said all out-of-date products were immediately cleared from the store when discovered and that Kalinka-Stockmann does not dispute the fine.

Korzhneva said fines for breaches of trading rules vary with the severity of the offense. Outlets that persistently violate the rules risk losing their trading license.

And for serious offenders, a more visually and economically dire fate was designed by the Central Moscow prosecutor's office.

"The public hazard sign -- a black cross -- is hung in the shop window and on the shop floor, warning consumers that this shop continually ignores requirements," said Korzhneva, adding that the penalty for removing the sign was an "extremely heavy fine."

This damning symbol was last displayed in a shop in the city's central region in 1994, and its significance was imparted to the public by means of television and newspaper announcements. Shoppers began to give the store wide berth, and it closed down soon after, Korzhneva said.