On Friday Venezuela’s Health Ministry announced the ban of Coca-Cola Zero because it failed to declare the use of an artificial sweetener allegedly harmful to the health.
President Hugo ChĂˇvez’s government has banned the sale of the calorie-free soft drink over health concerns, prompting a scramble to remove it from shelves and vending machines.
“This product must be taken off the market to safeguard Venezuelans’ health” as it has “an ingredient that can be harmful to people,” Health Minister Jesus Mantilla, said a day earlier, according to the state news agency ABN.
A spokesperson for the company’s local affiliate says Coca-Cola Zero in Venezuela does not contain the sweetener or any other harmful ingredients, but theyâ€™re complying with the order to halt production.
Coca-Cola is a drink that has noÂ calories or an amount small enough to be rounded down to zero. The diet and zero versions in the US, England, and Canada both contain non-calorie sweeteners aspartame (E951) and acesulfame K (E950), but in slightly different proportions and they therefore have slightly different tastes.
Coca-Cola and Femsa began selling Coke Zero in Venezuela in April and still sells many other drinks in Venezuela, including Coca-Cola Classic, Chinoto, Frescolita and Hit.