Russian inspectors had been looking for maggots in the kitchens of an army base on the tiny Pacific island of Kunashir after soldiers there complained of being given worm-infested food.
They were unable to back up the soldiers’ claims. What they found, however, was just as unappetizing.
A report published by Rosselkhoznadzor, Russia’s food safety and sanitary watchdog, says food at the base was stored in “gross violations of sanitary norms.”
According to the report, the walls and ceilings of the storage room were covered in mold and peeling plaster. The agency mentioned rusty food cans. It also found fault with the storage of grains.
“The bags are piled up directly again the walls,” it says. “There are rodent droppings and garbage under the bags.”
As a result, Rosselkhoznadzor says much of the foodstuff stored at the army base contained mold, rodent droppings, as well as ticks.
The local prosecutor’s office has launched a case based on the findings.
Military officials had strongly denied claims of rampant food contamination at the base, dismissing the discovery of worms and maggots in a batch of buckwheat as a onetime incident.
As it presses on with plans to introduce more healthy food options for soldiers, the cash-strapped Russian Army has been hit by a series of food scandals this year.
In February alone, more than 10 tons of spoiled food, including rotten meat and fish, were withdrawn from army bases and hospitals in the neighboring Primorye region.
Russia’s biggest army food scandal to date took place in 2011, when a former Interior Ministry officer revealed in a video address to then-President Dmitry Medvedev that soldiers in Russia’s Far East region were deliberately fed dog food.
The officer was promptly dismissed, stripped of his military rank, and jailed for four years on charges of allegedly beating two servicemen.
Investigators eventually established that his claims were well-founded.