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     Largest pot of soup-world record set by Venezuela   

[Sep 15] CARACAS, Venezuela Venezuelan officials claimed a world record Saturday for the world's largest pot of soup, a giant cauldron of stew prepared by President Hugo Chavez's government.     The hulking stainless steel cooking pot, set up outdoors in downtown Caracas, contained about 15,000 litres of "sancocho" stew, Food Minister Rafael Oropeza said.
(AP Photo/Howard Yanes)

    That would dwarf the current record-holder listed on the Guinness World Records website, a pot of 5,350 litres of spicy soup prepared in Durango, Mexico, in July.

    Oropeza called it "Bolivarian stew" - a play on the name of Chavez's socialist movement, named in honour of South American independence hero Simon Bolivar. He said it was enough to feed 60,000 to 70,000 people.

    Addressing reporters next to the pot, Oropeza said the government is solving supply problems that have made it difficult for Venezuelans to find staples like milk and eggs in recent months. He said the state-run market had ample reserves of all products.
    Workers stood on raised platforms stirring the soup with poles, and then dished out servings to a crowd at a state-run market.

    It contained 3,000 kilograms of chicken, 2,000 kilograms of beef, plus tonnes of legumes and vegetables.

    With price controls in place, rising demand has outstripped domestic production of some foods, prompting an increase in imports. Oropeza said the only product that remains in short supply is milk, a situation he blamed on a "world problem" of unusual cold snaps and dry spells hurting milk production.

   The 20,490-litre pot was about three-quarters full. "We didn't add more for security reasons," Oropeza said. "There's plenty for second helpings."

   The BBC's James Ingham in Caracas says the aim of the event was to highlight the government's food distribution programme, which helps ease sporadic shortages due to economic issues.

   The event has commemorated the third anniversary of the creation of the foods ministry, as the government tries to address food shortages amid a surge in consumer demand.

    Demand for meat, flour and cooking oil has outstripped supply this year in Venezuela, helping push the country's inflation rate to 15.9 percent, the highest in Latin America.


    Media: BBC Video News on Youngest DJ     

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