Uk&Ireland Breaking News
June 11, 2008
Coke Zero has been banned in Venezuela because of possible health risks.
The government, led by Hugo Chavez, ordered the removal of the soft drink from stores while its ingredients are investigated.
Health minister Jesus Mantilla said: "The product should be withdrawn from circulation to preserve the health of Venezuelans."
He did not specify which ingredients were causing concern or what health risks they posed.
Coca Cola and its Mexican-based bottling company, Femsa, said in a joint statement: "Coca Cola Zero is made under the highest quality standards around the world and meets the sanitary requirements demanded by the laws of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela."
The zero calorie drink, which has been sold in Venezuela since April, contains artificial sweeteners.
Coca Cola said at the launch it aimed to increase its market share for low calorie drinks by 200%.
Venezuela's anti-capitalist government took the decision to block the product at a time of increased scrutiny of businesses.
The South American oil exporter has nationalised several oil service operations, including projects run by US firms Williams Companies and Exterran.