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YOUR SOURCE ON FOOD LITIGATION AND REGULATION

The Mexican Ministry of Economy and Federal Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Risks approved a project on January 24 to modify the mandatory “Official Mexican Standard NOM-051-SCFI/SSA1-2010, General Labeling Specifications for Pre-packaged, Non-alcoholic Foodstuffs and Beverages” (NOM-051). The updated NOM-051 standards establish mandatory rules for all prepackaged, nonalcoholic foodstuffs and beverages sold in Mexico, regardless of their country of origin.

Among the key amendments established by NOM-051, relevant provisions include:

  • Front of Label Warnings: In addition to the already existing nutritional information requirements for principal display panels, NOM-051 requires the inclusion of an additional frontal “stamp” warning aimed at preventing the risk of overconsuming "Critical Nutrients," which, when ingested in excess, are considered risk factors associated with chronic diseases. Such Critical Nutrients include added sugars, saturated fat, sodium, and other nutrients and ingredients determined by the Ministry of Health.
  • Promotional Restrictions: NOM-051 prohibits the use of professional organization endorsements or the promotion of consumption by using gifts, offers, toys, or contests, offers related to price or content, visual-spatial games, or advertising on social networks on the labels of prepackaged and nonalcoholic beverages.
  • Compliance with International Standards: NOM-051 includes a provision expressly stating that the Ministry of Health must consider the international treaties and conventions “on labelling,” of which Mexico is a party, in issuing regulations that establish the specific requirements with which food and nonalcoholic beverages labeling must comply.

With NOM-051, Mexico joins previous efforts adopted by other Latin American countries such as Chile, Peru, and Ecuador. The potential impact of these new labeling requirements is unclear. Going forward, marketers and importers will bear the responsibility of compliance with the labeling regulations for foreign-made products.