Venezuela's opposition-controlled congress has voted to censure the country's food minister amid widespread shortages.

Lawmakers voted Thursday to censure Food Minister Rodolfo Marco Torres after he failed to show up for a congressional hearing.

Critics of President Nicolas Maduro's socialist administration said they took the vote for the good of the Venezuelan people in light of what has become a nutritional emergency. They said the censure should be enough to remove the minister from his post, but the ruling socialist party called it a purely symbolic gesture.

The opposition took control of congress in January, but has been almost entirely sidelined by Supreme Court decisions rendering legislative actions null. The administration said the no-confidence vote against Torres is also invalid, because of a recent court ruling on parliamentary procedures.