New front-of-package warning seals and other labelling changes for foods and non-alcoholic beverages for retail sale in Mexico
Amendments to the Mexican Official Standard (Norma Official Mexicana) NOM-051-SCFI/SSA1-2010
Overview of Mexico's front-of-package labelling changes
Mexico has recently amended NOM-051-SCFI/SSA1-2010, with changes coming in the form of new front-of-package warning seals and labels. The labelling changes are mandatory for both domestic and imported products, and the first stage includes major changes and will begin on October 1, 2020.
These changes aim to encourage Mexicans to adopt a healthier diet. The new requirements will be implemented in three stages with the first stage beginning on October 1, 2020, the second stage on October 1, 2023, and the third stage on October 1, 2025.
To avoid having your food products and non-alcoholic beverages removed from Mexican shelves or not allowed to be sold in Mexico as of October 1, 2020:
- Canadian exporters of foods and non-alcoholic beverages destined for retail sale in Mexico are strongly advised to start making any required adjustments to the labels/stickers on their products to comply with the new labelling requirements that are part of a recent amendment.
- Canadian exporters are strongly advised to start working as soon as possible with their Mexican importers and/or private verification units authorized by the Mexican government to make any required adjustments to their labels/stickers in order to make them compliant with the new provisions and to avoid any disruptions to the sale of their products in Mexico. A list of private verification units can be found in the following document: Unidades de verificación vigentes (NOM-051-SCFI/SSA1-2010), PDF, (in Spanish only).
Summary of some of the new labelling requirements
Below is a summary of some of the new labelling requirements. Canadian exporters are strongly encouraged to review all requirements in the Full Text of the amended NOM-051-SCFI/SSA1-2010, PDF, in Spanish only.
Note: In the event of discrepancies between this summary and the amendment to NOM-051 as published in Spanish, the Spanish shall prevail.
Octagonal black warning seals
As of October 1, 2020, black, octagonal-shaped warning seals will be required to appear in the front-of-package of foods and non-alcoholic beverages that exceed pre-established thresholds of calories, sodium, trans fats, sugars, and saturated fats.
Below is an example of the octagonal black seals to caution consumers that products contain an "excess" of these components, and the location where these seals are expected to appear. Please note that the size and location of the seals could change depending on the package.
New thresholds for certain nutrients
The following table outlines the thresholds to be applied during the first stage of enforcement, which is effective from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2023. In some cases such as energy and sodium, the thresholds become stricter from one stage to the next. Canadian exporters are therefore encouraged to consult the tables of thresholds to be applied at each stage.
Period of enforcement - October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2023 (3 years)
|Energy||Sugars||Saturated Fats||Trans Fats||Sodium|
|Solids in 100 g of product||≥275 total kcal||≥10 % of the total energy coming from free sugars.
Beverages with <10 kcal of free sugars are exempted from the seal
|≥10 % of the total energy coming from saturated fats||≥1 % of the total energy coming from trans fats||
Calorie-free beverages: ≥45 mg
|Liquids in 100 ml of product||≥70 total kcal
≥10 kcal of free sugars
|Legend to use||EXCESO CALORÍAS (Excess of Calories)||EXCESO AZÚCARES (Excess of Sugars)||EXCESO GRASAS SATURADAS (Excess of Saturated Fats)||EXCESO GRASAS TRANS (Excess of Trans Fats)||EXCESO SODIO (Excess of Sodium)|
The amendment to NOM-051 requires the label to include as many black octagonal warning seals as applicable. Details about the order of priority, size, presentation and specific cases related to the octagonal seals (e.g., when a collective package includes more than one type of product or when the front of the package is smaller than 40 cm, etc.) are included in the full text of NOM-051. Some single-ingredient products such as vegetable oils, animal fats, sugar, honey, salt and cereal flour are exempted from the warning seals.
Cautionary warnings/legends to discourage that children consume products with sweeteners or caffeine
As of October 1, 2020, rectangular-shaped warnings must be used when applicable with the following text and in the following format/legend.
Products without octagonal warning seals or cautionary legends will be allowed to include a legend saying: "Este producto no contiene sellos ni leyendas" (Translation: This product does not contain warning seals or legends).
Other new requirements
- No cartoons, celebrities, athletes or other characters appealing to children will be permitted on the labels of products with one or more octagonal black seals.
- Endorsement of products by organizations or associations only allowed if proper scientific documentation is presented, and the products do not exceed one or more octagonal black seals.
- "Substitute products" will be required to include the word "IMITACIÓN" (Translation: IMITATION) in capital letters and bold before the name of the product.
- Added sugars must be declared as: "azúcares añadidos" (Translation: added sugars) in the list of ingredients.
For more details regarding the new labelling requirements, including when and how the information should be presented, we invite you to consult the Full Text of the amended NOM-051-SCFI/SSA1-2010, PDF, (in Spanish only).
For any questions, contact Canadian Trade Commissioner in Mexico: Alejandro Ruiz, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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