The first load of US branded food to be sold directly to Cuba since the US embargo was imposed in 1961 arrived in Havana yesterday [Sunday].

A US law was passed in 2000, overturning the four-decade-old embargo. Cuba has already purchased 600,000 tonnes of US grains, poultry and other foods.

Yesterday's shipment of Marsh-brand butter, margarine, breakfast cereals and tomato sauce was part of a US$750,000 deal struck by Marsh International, a subsidiary of Marsh Supermarkets, to sell the first American brand-name food to Cuba, reported Reuters. Future shipments under the contract comprise some 140 products, including condiments, snack foods, baby food, cookies, pasta, preserves and soup.

US president George W. Bush has vowed to veto attempts to lift the bans on trade financing and travel by Americans to Cuba until Havana makes democratic reforms.