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Ms. Jennifer Rodrigue
Trade Commissioner
Mexico City, Mexico

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New front-of-package warning seals and other labelling changes for foods and non-alcoholic beverages for retail sale in Mexico (changes to NOM-051)

June 9, 2020

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 to the Mexican Official Standard: NOM-051-SCFI/SSA1-2010. The labelling changes, which are mandatory for both domestic and imported products, 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 Oct. 1, 2023, and the third stage on Oct. 1, 2025. It is important to note that the first stage includes major changes.

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. See a list of private verification units (only available in Spanish).

Below is a summary of some of the new labelling requirements, but Canadian exporters are encouraged to review all requirements in the full text of the new NOM-051 (only available in Spanish). In the event of discrepancies between this summary and the amendment to NOM-051 as published in Spanish, the latter 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 (details are included in the full text of NOM-051.

Octagonal black warning seals
Octagonal black warning seals location

The following table outlines the thresholds to be applied during the first stage of enforcement. In some cases (e.g., 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. See full text of the new NOM-051.

Thresholds that determine when black seals must be included on labels during Stage 1

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≥350 mg Calorie-free beverages:
≥ 45 mg
Liquids in 100 ml of product≥ 70 total kcal
or
≥ 10 kcal of free sugars
Legend to useEXCESO 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 (CONTAINS SWEETENERS, NOT RECOMMENDED FOR CHILDREN) / (CONTAINS CAFFEINE – AVOID IN CHILDREN).

warning label: CONTAINS SWEETENERS, NOT RECOMMENDED FOR CHILDREN
warning label: CONTAINS CAFFEINE – AVOID IN CHILDREN

Products without octagonal warning seals or cautionary legends will be allowed to include a legend saying: “Este producto no contiene sellos ni leyendas” (This product does not contain warning seals or legends).

Other new requirements

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 new NOM-051.

For any questions, contact Trade Commissioner Alejandro Ruiz, Alejandro.ruiz@international.gc.ca.



Mr. Alejandro Ruiz
Trade Commissioner
Mexico City, Mexico

Mrs. Gema Duran
Trade Commissioner Assistant
Mexico City, Mexico

Mr. César Guerrero
Trade Commissioner Assistant
Mexico City, Mexico

Ms. Francis Lindsay
Trade Commissioner
Mexico City, Mexico

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