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Aggressive, Projected Labeling Rules for Pre-Packaged, Non-Alcoholic Food and Beverages in Mexico Open for Comment

On October 11, 2019, Mexico released the project to modify the mandatory “Official Mexican Standard NOM-051-SCFI/SSA1-2010, General Labeling Specifications for Pre-packaged, Non-alcoholic Foodstuffs and Beverages. Commercial and Sanitary Information (the 051 NOM Project).”

Scope of Products

  • Once they become definitive (timeline below), the 051 NOM Project labeling rules will be mandatory for all pre-packaged, non-alcoholic foodstuffs and beverages sold in Mexico, regardless of their country of origin.

  • All ingredients causing intolerance, allergies or hypersensitivity need to be declared. A list exclusively defining the latter (hypersensitivity) includes, among others, gluten, eggs, peanuts and nuts, soy, and milk.

  • The 051 NOM Project does not apply to bulk products, point-of-sale packaged goods or products expressly covered by other mandatory NOMs (obligatory standards), for example, appellation of origin products such as coffee from Veracruz or tequila.

New Frontal, “Stamp” Warning System

  • In addition to the already-existing nutritional information requirements that are clarified in the 051 NOM Project, modification includes a coexisting, additional frontal “stamp” warning system aimed at preventing the risk of overconsuming "Critical Nutrients" (defined below) which, when ingested in excess, are considered risk factors associated with chronic, noncommunicable diseases.

  • The frontal “stamp” warning system shall be used when covered products: (i) contain added free sugars (sugar added by the manufacturer, in addition to sugar that is naturally present in honey and fruit and in vegetable syrups and juices), fats, or sodium, and when (ii) the value contents of free sugars, saturated fat, trans fat and sodium exceed the values foreseen in the 051 NOM Project.

  • When the aforementioned conditions are met, the frontal “stamp” warning system shall consist of the following images (which are to be located in the upper right-hand front cover, under specified dimensions):

Stamp Warning System

  • In addition, whenever caffeine is added, in any quantity, products shall include the following cautionary legend:

Caffeine Warning Label

New Prohibitions

  • The following bans are established on the labeling of products:

    • They may not contain endorsements by professional associations.

    • They may not utilize consumption-promoting characters, drawings, celebrities, gifts, offers, toys or contests, offers related to price or content, visual-spatial games or announcements of social networks.

Timing Ahead

The 051 NOM Project is open to public comment until December 10, 2019. Authorities then will have until January 24, 2020, to analyze the comments and modify the 051 NOM Project as deemed relevant.

Responses to received comments and any accepted modifications are to be published at least 15 calendar days prior to the issuance of the Definitive 051 NOM.

© 2020 Foley & Lardner LLPNational Law Review, Volume IX, Number 308


About this Author

Alejandro Nemo Gomez Strozzi, Foley Lardner Law Firm, Mexico, Corporate Law Attorney

Alejandro Gómez-Strozzi focuses his practice on providing advisory and consulting services related to international trade compliance, antidumping, customs, foreign trade and Mexican administrative law.

As a top international trade lawyer, he has advised major multinational companies in the automotive, steel and consumer products sectors. He provides advice regarding available foreign trade programs, tax implications of foreign trade operations, implementation of free trade agreements entered into by Mexico, customs procedures, trade compliance...