Nestle Reopens Zimbabwe Factory

World’s biggest food and drink company has reopened a production site in Zimbabwe's capital after receiving reassurance from the government concerning the safety of its staff.

GENEVA (AP) -- Nestle SA, the world's biggest food and drink company, said Tuesday it has reopened a production site in Zimbabwe's capital after receiving reassurance from the government concerning the safety of its staff.

Nestle closed its factory in Harare last month after government officials and authorities made an unannounced visit and ordered milk trucks to be unloaded. Police also questioned two local managers, releasing them without charges the same day.

"Normal business was no longer possible and the safety of its employees could not be guaranteed," said spokeswoman Nina Backes of the closure.

"Since then, the local Nestle management has been in regular contact with the Zimbabwean authorities to find a solution," she said.

The company decided to reopen the factory on Dec. 31 after receiving written assurances from the Minister of Industry and Commerce guaranteeing the security of Nestle management and staff and pledging not to interfere in the company's operating processes, Backes said.

Nestle has come under pressure to buy milk from farms, including one that appears to belong to President Robert Mugabe. The company refused the demand.

Nestle "reiterates its commitment to source milk exclusively from its contracted farmers," Backes said.

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