Caracas, Venezuela (VA) –Venezuelan authorities discovered 2,500 kilos of expired wheat flour at a plant belonging to the US multinational Kraft Foods in the northwestern city of Barquisimeto. The wheat flour was imported by the food and beverage conglomerate using preferential dollars provided by the Venezuelan state, which are exclusively reserved for importing food and medicines.
According Gustavo Saavedra, union representative and inspector for the Superintendence of Just Prices (SUNNDE), the wheat flour expired because Kraft failed to make use of it in time.
For its part, Kraft denies responsibility for the loss, which it attributes to lack of raw materials necessary for the production process.
Saavedra has, nonetheless, dismissed the firm’s claims, noting that it is “Kraft’s irresponsibility” for failing to do a proper inventory of the materials needed for production.
The investigation will continue for up to 45 days, culminating in possible administrative and criminal penalties as determined by SUNNDE.
The hoarding of essential food and medical items as well as the diversion of government dollars marked for key imports is part of what Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has called an “economic war” allegedly waged by business sectors and the opposition against the leftist government.
On Saturday, a cache of 30 tons of corn flour were uncovered by Venezuelan Armed Forces officials in Zulia state as part of anti-contraband operations along the Colombian border.
In late October, the Maduro government announced a series of measures against speculation, including cracking down on retailers who base their prices on the black market dollar, which currently runs four times higher than the highest official rate.
This report prepared by Venezuelanalysis.com
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