Venezuela food maker denies blame for shortages

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Associated Press

Posted on May 13, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Updated Monday, May 13 at 6:33 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela's biggest food company has rejected President Nicolas Maduro's claims that it's to blame for the country's persistent food shortages.

Empresas Polar chief executive Lorenzo Mendoza said Monday that, in his words, "the accusations that we are producing less than last year are false." He is offering to buy or rent government-owned corn processing plants to increase Venezuela's production.

Shortages of basic foods including sugar, milk, butter and cornmeal are a recurring annoyance to consumers in the oil-rich nation of 30 million people.

Food makers say the shortages stem from the socialist government's price controls and a lack of foreign currency to pay for imports.

Venezuela's president blames the private sector, and has accused Polar of reducing its production and hoarding products to create scarcity.

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