(CNN) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Wednesday he had ordered the nationalization of at least some of the operations of the U.S.-based food giant Cargill and threatened to do the same with the Caracas-based food maker Polar.

“Begin the expropriation process with Cargill,” he said in a nationally televised speech in which he accused the company of growing specialized forms of rice in an attempt to evade price controls.

The leftist president called the company’s practices “a flagrant violation of everything that we have been doing.”

Mark Klein, a spokesman for Cargill, said the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based company “is committed to the production of food in Venezuela that complies with all laws and regulations.”

He said a rice mill cited by Chavez “was designed exclusively to manufacture parboiled rice, which the company has done at this site for the last seven years and elsewhere in the country for 13 years.”

Full story: http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/americas/03/04/venezuela.cargill/index.html