Venezuela has lifted price caps on sterilized milk, marking a reversal of price controls imposed by President Hugo Chavez in 2003.

The move comes just over a week after Venezuelans voting in a referendum rejected proposed constitutional reforms that would have expanded President Chavez's powers, including allowing him to run for re-election indefinitely.

Basic goods such as sugar, milk and meat have been in short supply in Venezuela. Industry officials blame the shortages on government price controls that leave them unable to make a profit.

Analysts say shortages in food supplies such as milk may be eroding the president's popularity among the poor Venezuelans who formed the base for his re-election last year. The Venezuelan leader was first elected in 1998.

Earlier this year, Mr. Chavez said he would nationalize private supermarkets and food storage facilities caught violating price controls.

Mr. Chavez said he would seize businesses if they insist on violating what he called "the interests of the people, the constitution and the laws."

Some information for this report was provided by Bloomberg and Reuters.