Venezuela's president says he's asked that food restrictions not proceed

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says he has asked that plans be halted to restrict sales of 20 basic food products in a western border state.

Many had considered the plan to limit sales of price-controlled items such as cooking oil, flour, chicken and toilet paper in Zulia state tantamount to food rationing in a country plagued by worsening shortages of staples.

Maduro called the plan "insane" in a TV appearance Saturday and said he asked Gov. Francisco Arias Cardenas to scrap it.

Arias administration officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

They said last week that the scheme could begin as early as Monday and that it wasn't rationing but rather an anti-contraband effort as the goods are more expensive in neighboring Colombia.