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Venezuela food giant halts production of pasta, saying government not allotting dollars

Venezuela's biggest food company is halting work at one of its facilities because of government delays in allotting it dollars to buy wheat from foreign suppliers.

Empresas Polar said in a statement Tuesday that it had no choice but to suspend production and furlough workers at a pasta assembly line after emergency supplies lent by other companies ran out. It gave no date for resuming production of the Primor and Gran Senora brands at a facility in the western city of Maracaibo.

Polar in January said it is owed $463 million by the government agency that controls the nation's dollar supplies and that the waiting time to process requests has more than quadrupled to 230 days.

The move adds to shortages that have climbed to a record this year.