Venezuela's Government, led by president Hugo Chavez, has called for Coca-Cola Zero to be banned from sale in the country due to unspecified health concerns, according to local reports.

Health Minister Jesus Mantilla was quoted in Venezuela's state news agency as saying that Coca-Cola Zero, the calorie-free version of Coca-Cola, should be pulled from sale "to preserve the health of Venezuelans", according to a local report by Reuters today (11 June).

A spokesperson for The Coca-Cola Co's bottler in the region, Coca-Cola Femsa, could not be immediately reached by just-drinks to confirm the ban.

No specific health concerns were detailed by the minister.

The leftwing, anti-capitalist Chavez Government has a long history of anti-US sentiment. Chavez has on several occasions accused the US of trying to assassinate him and referred to previous US president George W Bush as "the Devil".