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Venezuela: Rotten food containers continue to appear nationwide – El Universal

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June 14

Government blames private sector over politicization of food security
Carlos Osorio, the National Superintendent of Silos, Warehouse and Agricultural Storage (SADA), blamed the private sector for considering food processing plants as a “machine to make money,” while the government sees them as a matter of security.

He urged the private sector, which previously controlled the distribution of food, to ensure the people’s access to products rather than using them “as a tool to make politics.”

He said that in the past food distribution was in private hands. However, since 2002 the Venezuelan government has implemented several tasks and penalties to stabilize the agrifood policy, to the extent that it already has a large infrastructure to balance the distribution of products.

June 16

Venezuelan ship with spoiled food for Haiti is anchored in Puerto Cabello
Members of the staff of the Puerto Cabello Ports Authority confirmed the presence of Santa Paula, a ship with the Venezuelan flag, which was returned to Venezuela by authorities of the Dominican Republic, where the ship had been sent with a shipment of spoiled food to aid Haiti.

According to the reports, the ship is anchored in the C area of the docks. The entry date was June 6. Sources have said that some containers have been unloaded.

The Venezuelan ship was returned from Dominican Republic because the containers with humanitarian aid sent to Haiti had rotten food.

Members of the staff of Bolipuertos who work in the primary area of the docks have said that the ship arrived at the shipping terminal a few days ago. The vessel brought back 68 containers with approximately 39 tons of rotten food.

June 17

Town councillor reports loss of 1,600 tons of rice in Carabobo
A new cargo of spoiled food would have been located in a warehouse in Puerto Cabello, as reported on June 16 by Ylidio Abreu, a town councillor of Puerto Cabello municipality.

The government official added that the authorities had found 1,600 tons of rotten rice “that could have been used to give one kilogram of rice to each inhabitant of the state.”

Abreu said that the huge amount of rice had been abandoned 18 months ago in a warehouse near the port facilities. He said that according to a report issued by the Municipal Institute for Environmental Protection, the food has bacterial spores, fungi and mycotoxins.

Meanwhile, a group of officials of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (Sebin) raided the house of Yara Margarita Aguilera, who was the former customs manager of the state-run food distribution network Pdval in the region until the first week of May 2010, when she disclosed the discovery of 1,197 containers with spoiled food.
Moreover, officials from the Puerto Cabello Ports Authority said that the ship named Santa Paula, owned by the ship’s company Buques del Alba, is still anchored in the bay of Puerto Cabello.

June 18

Ruling party’s governor admits existence of rotten food in his state
Anzoátegui state governor Tarek William Saab admitted that there is rotten food in the industrial port of Jose.

The pro-government governor said that the shipment of powdered milk that arrived in the industrial port had already expired and it was the result of a deal between a Chinese company and the state-run food distribution network Pdval, the private TV news network Globovisión reported.

The governor promised to review all the documents and file charges against the Chinese importer.

Venezuela denies having sent ship with spoiled food to Haiti
The Venezuelan government denied on June 18 that the vessel with food containers sent to Haiti last January was returned to the country because the products were rotten and clarified that the decision was taken precisely to avoid food decay.

In a press release issued by the Ministry of Food, the government “denies” reports about the “return of 51 containers allegedly with spoiled food” that were sent as part of humanitarian aid to the Caribbean island, devastated by an earthquake in January.

According to the authorities, Venezuela “requested the return of the containers to the country to avoid the expiration of food,” after assessing “prevailing conditions in Haiti.”

The 51 containers were part of a group of 224 containers, “of which 173 arrived at its destination without any problem,” said the press release.

Source: El Universal (Venezuela)

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