Chávez’s health minister, Jesus Mantilla, ordered Coke Zero to be removed from store shelves, saying, “The product should be withdrawn from circulation to preserve the health of Venezuelans.”
Mantilla has ordered an investigation into the ingredients of Coke Zero – a challenge to Coca-Cola, which has legendarily kept its recipes secret. But Coca-Cola said: “Coke Zero is made under the highest quality standards and meets the sanitary requirements demanded by the laws of Venezuela.”
The move against Coca-Cola comes amid a wave of recent industrial interventions by the leader of oil-rich Venezuela. In recent weeks, Chávez has had the owner of one of the country’s main television stations – and an arch-critic of the regime – indicted over a business deal; has seized rice and pasta factories owned by US foods group Cargill; has threatened action against the Pfizer drugs giant; and nationalised American-owned oil services companies.
Source: London Evening Standard
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