New Labeling Requirements for Alcoholic Beverages Come into Force March 24

In order to curb the epidemic of alcohol abuse-which has become a serious health problem in Mexico, as in many other countries-the Mexican government has revised and implemented new rules regarding labeling requirements for alcoholic beverages.

Mexican Official Standard Rule NOM-142-SSA1/SCFI-2014 for Alcoholic Beverages (NOM 142) was published in the Federal Gazette last year by the Head of the Federal Commission for Protection against Sanitary Risks (in Spanish, Comision Federal para la Proteccion contra Riesgos Sanitarios, or COFEPRIS). The new labeling requirements provided by NOM 142, which apply to alcoholic beverages imported, manufactured and sold in Mexico, will come into force on March 24, 2016.

NOM 142 establishes general provisions concerning the information that must be included on labels for alcoholic beverages, as well as requirements regarding the presentation of the label´s information in order to verify that is clear, legible and presented in Spanish.

The following mandatory information must be included on labels for alcoholic beverages as of March 24:

  • Name and trademark of the product.
  • Name, Company name and domicile for Tax purposes.
  • Name, Company name and domicile for Tax purposes of the product-responsible.
  • Country of origin, including captions such as “Made in___”.
  • Lot identification.
  • “Best-before” date.
  • Alcohol content.
  • List of ingredients.
  • Cautionary notes, such as “Excessive consumption of this product may be injurious to human health”.

One of the most important specifications of NOM 142 is the inclusion of new symbols seeking to discourage alcohol abuse, underage drinking, alcohol intake by pregnant women and drunk driving situations. These symbols must be included on the individual labels, as well as on all forms of packaging.

COFEPRIS and the Federal Bureau for Consumers Protection (PROFECO) will be responsible for monitoring compliance with the requirements of NOM 142. This will be achieved via random visits to the alcohol processing premises and on-shelf inspections.

In addition to the labeling requirements regarding commercial and health information, NOM 142 also mandated new health requirements relating to the manufacturing process for alcoholic beverages. These health requirements came into force on July 21, 2015-the effective date of NOM 142. While most of the health requirements for manufacturing were already provided for in the General Health Law (GHL), important updates were made to the requirements regarding the quality of the raw material, water and ethylic alcohol used in the manufacturing process, as well as all the necessary actions the producers will have to take in order to ensure the product is not altered in the process.

For example, NOM 142 requires the use of water for human consumption or distilled and demineralized water if needed, and permits only vegetable-origin ethylic alcohol. Furthermore, producers must also keep record of the following documents: invoices or documents that verify the acquisition of raw materials; documented proof of incoming and outgoing raw materials; documents detailing where finished products have been sent ; and inventories of raw materials and finished products. This documentation should be preserved for at least two years.

Olivares will be closely monitoring these developments and will keep clients regularly updated.

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