Sugar shortage leads Coca-Cola to halt Venezuela production

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Coca-Cola is halting production in Venezuela of its namesake beverage due to a sugar shortage brought on by the country’s grinding economic crisis.

The Atlanta-based company said in an emailed statement Friday said that its production of sugar-sweetened beverages will be suspended in the coming days after local suppliers reported they had run out of the raw material. Sugar-free beverages are not affected and the company said its offices and distribution centers remain open in Venezuela.

The move comes as Venezuela’s economy is teetering on the edge of collapse with widespread food shortages and inflation forecast to surpass 700 percent. Last month, Empresas Polar, Venezuela’s largest food and beverage company, stopped production of beer because of a lack of imported barley.

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