"Venezuelans experienced widespread shortages of rice last year when the world food crisis set in and prices soared. Pledging to take stronger measures to guarantee food access to all citizens, Chávez passed the Law on Food Security and Sovereignty with decree authority granted to him for 18 months by the National Assembly. The law defines food security as a matter of “public utility,” permitting Chávez to order expropriation of property necessary to move toward that goal.
Chavez is honouring that law by beginning the steps for expropriation of rice processing plants violating controls. The big food corporation Polar, is suspected of operating below capacity at its rice mills to evade price caps and adding flavouring to bypass regulations which are geared to cover only basic pure foods. A Cargill plant that circumventing price controls by "modifying" (parboiling) its rice was ordered expropriated today.
"These private companies can continue functioning as long as they remain within the scope of the law and the constitution", Chavez said Wednesday.