Front Warning Labels, Food and Beverages Labeling

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TRADE ALERT – Amendment to the Official Mexican Standard NOM-051

31 Mar , 2020  

Labeling for prepackaged food and non-alcoholic beverages

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On March 27, 2020, the Amendment to the Official Mexican Standard NOM-051 SCFI/SSA1-2010 “Labeling for prepackaged food and non-alcoholic beverages – Commercial and health information, published in April 5, 2010, was published in the Official Gazette. The most relevant modifications concerning to the NOM-051, published on October 11, 2019, are the following:

The definition of coverage medium is added, which is the liquid that has been added to a pre-packaged product in hermetically sealed containers and hermetic treatment. Likewise, the definition of imitation products was added, which refers to prepackaged products that are made with ingredients or procedures other than those used in the production of that product prepackaged with NOM or following the provisions of section 4.2.1.1.1., (denomination of the product) that intends to imitate and whose appearance is similar to the latter.

Definitions of genuine and substitute products and all references to these products were removed.

Seals or recommendation legends or recognition by professional organizations or associations may be included on the label of prepackaged products when they provide the   appropriate documentation  that  supports  scientific, objective and reliable evidence and must not exceed one or more of the added critical nutrients, specifying the target population. To comply with the above, PROFECO must issue no lather than October 1, 2020, the Guidelines for the registration and recognition of professional organizations or associations that can issue seals or recommendation legends for food and non-alcoholic beverages.

Prepackaged products bearing one or more warning labels or the sweetener legend shall not include on the label children’s characters, animations, cartoons, celebrities, athletes or pets, interactive elements such as visual-space games or digital download, which, if aimed at children, incite, promote or encourage the consumption, purchase or choice of products with excess critical nutrients or sweeteners. (This will take effect until April 1, 2021).

The prepackaged product denomination must appear in bold letters within the main display surface of the label, in a line parallel to the base as the product is designed.

For imitation products, the denomination will appear in the upper left of the main display surface, placing the word -IMITATION- at the beginning in capital letters, with bold text on a light background that is twice the size of the rest of the denomination. The above will not be allowed when they have an origin denomination or geographical indication protected or recognized by Mexico.

Prepackaged products must display the official password when determined by the NOM that regulates their denomination or the Federal Law on Metrology and Standardization (LFMN), as well as the three digits corresponding to the key or code of the specific NOM for the product name, with the same proportionality and typography.

When legends “CONTAINS CAFFEINE AVOID IN CHILDREN” or “CONTAINS SWEETENERS – NOT RECOMMENDED IN CHILDREN” are applicable, these should appear in the upper right part of the main display surface and in case the pre-packaged product has a seal, they should appear below thereof, as established in Appendix A (Normative).

Nutritional or healthy statements may refer to the value of energy, proteins, carbohydrates, fats and their derivatives, dietary fiber, sodium, vitamins and inorganic nutrients (minerals) for which reference nutritional values have been established.

However, if the prepackaged product includes in its label any of the stamps indicated in 4.5.3.4.1 and any of the legends “CONTAINS CAFFEINE AVOID IN CHILDREN” or “CONTAINS SWEETENERS – NOT RECOMMENDED IN CHILDREN”, the statement must comply with the following:

a) No health claims should be made.

b) No declarations of nutritional properties should be made directly related to the seal that has been declared on the label, and

c) The declarations of nutritional properties that can be made must be displayed on the information surface with a maximum letter height that must correspond to the minimum letter height established in 4.1.3 of NOM-030-SCFI-2006.

The purpose of the Compliance Assessment procedure is to establish the requirements that accredited and approved persons must follow in terms of the provisions of the LFMN and its Regulations, to assess compliance with this NOM.

When a packaged product complies with this NOM, the Verification Unit will issue the constancia or the opinion of compliance with commercial information only if it complies with the provisions of chapters 4, 5, 6 and 7 of this NOM by the Verification Unit. Finally, the verification and surveillance will be carried out following the provisions of the LFMN and its Regulations.

About the entry into force of the Amendment

  1. The texts contained in the Frontal Labeling System, as well as the legends, “CONTAINS CAFFEINE TO AVOID IN CHILDREN”, “CONTAINS SWEETENERS – NOT RECOMMENDED IN CHILDREN” will enter into force as of October 1, 2020, while the rest of the sections by April 1, 2021, as described below:
  2. For the calculation and evaluation of the values and profiles referring to the complementary nutritional information, THREE different PHASES will be progressively established, the last of which will be verified as of October 1, 2025:

 

FIRST PHASE– From October 1, 2020, to December 30, September 2023 (3 years), the calculation and evaluation of supplemental nutritional information will be made pursuant to the following criteria and values:

Critical nutrients:

a) If added sugars are added, sugars and calories should be evaluated.

b) If fat is added, saturated fat, trans fat and calories should be evaluated

c) If sodium is added, only sodium should be evaluated.

  1. First Phase Nutritional Profiles

SECOND PHASE. From October 1, 2023 to September 30, 2025 (2 years), the calculation and evaluation of the complementary nutritional information will be carried out with the criteria and values, as in the first phase.

Table 6 as follows:

 

During this phase, the specifications and criteria of the complementary nutritional information will not be in force.

 

THIRD PHASE. As of October 1, 2025, the calculation and evaluation of the complementary nutritional information will be carried out fully applying the provisions contained in paragraphs 4.5.3, as well as Table 6 of the amendment to the standard on Nutritional Profiles.

Prepackaged products may temporarily use adhesives or sticky decals on the label of the products, provided that such adhesives or decals comply exactly with the provisions contained for the Front Labeling System, “CONTAINS CAFFEINE AVOID IN CHILDREN”, “CONTAINS SWEETENERS – NOT RECOMMENDED IN CHILDREN ”, as well as with the provisions of Appendix A (normative). This alternative can only be used until March 31, 2021.

We remain at your disposal for advice to comply with these important issues.

 Verónica Vázquez Bravo (vero@vtz.mx), Regulatory Partner.

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