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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dandy Chewing Gum Plant Avoids Shutdown

The nation's largest chewing gum manufacturer narrowly avoided being shut down by the federal government Monday for "the unauthorized release of harmful agents into the atmosphere."

The Natural Resources Ministry on Friday said it had decided to suspend the operations of Danish candy giant Dandy's Dirol-Cadbury factory in Novgorod until the company could provide the ministry with documents detailing the changes it had made to production facilities that caused the "dangerous," but unspecified release.

However, the $100 million factory, which opened four years ago and now employs 350 people, won a court injunction at the last minute allowing it to continue operating.

The Dirol-Cadbury factory produces 40 percent of all chewing gum sold in Russia, including the Stimorol and Dirol brands, and has revenues of about $310 million per year, according to Business-Analytica.

The ministry issued a statement saying that a "planned inspection" by its Novgorod arm in April found that the factory was releasing a substance into the atmosphere that was three or four times as toxic as the ethanol it had previously released in the course of manufacturing chewing gum.

The ministry, however, did not name the substance in question.

The injunction, issued by a St. Petersburg court, froze the ministry's shutdown order and gave the factory time to prepare and file the documents requested by the ministry.

Dirol-Cadbury spokesman Alexander Ovchinnikov said his company was to blame for failing to inform the ministry of the changes in its production facilities. He said some unnamed members of the company's staff had failed to submit the documents by the June 24 deadline.

However, he denied that the byproducts of manufacturing at the factory were any more harmful to the atmosphere than "normal diesel exhaust."

"It is nothing special," he said. "We recently replaced ethanol with less harmful ingredients, such as oil and lactic acid. All the ministry needs is new documents."

The ministry also said the factory had failed to get permission for the release of exhaust from new diesel-based equipment used to service filters and other industrial machines that is manufactured by U.S. company Caterpillar.

Ovchinnikov said that within a month the ministry will receive all the documents that it has requested.

A court is scheduled to hear developments in the case July 17.