On October 10, 2019, the Draft Amendment to the Mexican Official Standard NOM-051-SCFI/SSA1-2010, General Labelling Specifications for Prepackaged Foods and Non-Alcoholic Beverages-Commercial and Health Information (NOM-051) was published in the Federal Official Gazette (DOF).
The aforementioned publication derives from the amendment process which is subject to the referred Mexican Official Standard. As part of such process, any individuals and/or stakeholders have a 60 calendar-day period for the submission of any comments regarding the contents of the draft amendment to the NOM-051, before the National Advisory Committee on Standardization of the Ministry of Economy (CCNNSE, by its initials in Spanish).
Upon the conclusion of the period, the CCNNSE shall analyze all the comments received and, if applicable, it shall modify the Draft Amendment to the NOM-051 within a period which shall not exceed 45 calendar days.
Subsequently, the answers to the individuals’ comments and, where applicable, the modifications to the Draft Amendment to the NOM-051 shall be published in the DOF, at least 15 calendar days prior to the date when the publication of the Mexican Official Standard NOM-051 intends to be published in the DOF for becoming into force.
The Draft Amendment to the NOM-051 that was published last Friday is aligned with the publication that was made in the website of the National Commission for Regulatory Improvement, last October 7 in terms of the draft amendment, the following shall be emphasized:
i. It introduces new applicable terms and definitions, such as sugar added and sugar-free, natural or artificial sweetener, front labeling system; supplementary nutrition facts, children, critical nutrient, genuine and substitute products, warning stamp, among others.
ii. It now forbids the use of legends, which refer to recommendations or endorsements by professional companies or associations.
iii. The use of characters, drawings, celebrities, gifts, offers, toys, or contests is now forbidden for certain product categories.
iv. Likewise, the new draft amendment now limits the advertising of certain product categories in social media.
v. New rules apply for the use and declaration of the denomination of foods, mainly in terms of genuine and substitute products.
vi. Furthermore, the draft amendment sets out new guidelines for the declaration of ingredients, among which, the following stand out:
- Declaration of sugars, their categories, and quantities.
- Declarations of allergens and ingredients that may cause hypersensitivity and/or intolerance, including new categories (e.g. syrups).
- Tighter regulations for additives.
vii. Draft amendments introduce the obligation to declare added sugars and trans-fats as part of the Nutritional Declaration of products.
viii. It now broadens the supplementary nutritional facts chapter.
ix. Adopts the Front Labeling System, the purpose of which is to warn and inform the consumer regarding such nutrients which, pursuant to the provisions of the NOM, constitute a health risk. For example:
- The use of warning stamps in connection to nutrients (for example: “Excess Calories”).
- The use of warning stamps in connection to sweeteners (for example: “It contains sweeteners, it should be avoided in children”).
- Precautionary legends (for example: “It contains caffeine, it should be avoided in children”).
x. Finally, the draft amendment provides for a Conformity Assessment Procedure, and now introduces the obligation to obtain the relevant compliance opinion.