* Minister orders Coke Zero withdrawn from market
* Socialist government increasing scrutiny of business
CARACAS, June 10 (Reuters) -
The Venezuelan government of U.S.-critic President Hugo Chavez on Wednesday ordered Coca-Cola Co
The decision follows a wave of nationalizations and increased scrutiny of businesses in South America's top oil exporter.
Health Minister Jesus Mantilla said the zero-calorie Coke Zero should no longer be sold and stocks of the drink removed from store shelves.
"The product should be withdrawn from circulation to preserve the health of Venezuelans," the minister said in comments reported by the government's news agency.
Despite Chavez's anti-capitalist policies and rhetoric against consumerism, oil-exporting Venezuela remains one of Latin America's most Americanized cultures, with U.S. fast-food chains, shopping malls and baseball all highly popular.
Mantilla did not say what health risks Coke Zero, which contains artificial sweeteners, posed to the population.
Coke Zero was launched in Venezuela in April and Coca-Cola Femsa
Neither Coca-Cola nor the bottler responded to requests for comment on Wednesday.
The bottler was plagued with labor problems last year in Venezuela when former workers repeatedly blocked its plants demanding back pay.
The government this year has seized a rice mill and pasta factory belonging to U.S. food giant Cargill and has threatened action against U.S. drug company Pfizer
Chavez has also nationalized a group of oil service companies including projects belonging to Williams Companies
I like this ban. This appears to be a normal product in American culture, Diet soda. But this product is far from normal. Diet sodas are loaded with artificial sweeteners. An artificial sweeteners have been proven to pose health dangers. But of course the United States would never step on the toes of a huge company like Coca-Cola. For this one reason our food supply is tainted with chemical and other additives that are far from safe for human consumption.
Artificial sweeteners, such as saccharine, have never been proven to be safe. Their study after study and book after book the documents well known dangers of these chemical sweeteners. so is great to see a country actually stand up and protect their citizens by banning these controversial ingredients that are accepted by all other countries.
Us Americans are always complaining about the high cost of health care. Well it's no wonder why when our government allows harmful ingredients in our food supply. It appears that our government is more interested in protecting the health of big business rather than a health of its citizens. the customer awareness is at an all time high. So consumers are actually avoiding such products. But this is still a very small percentage.