Labelling Reform Puts Brands in Trouble
Derived from the increasing and unstoppable increase in metabolic and nutritional diseases such as obesity, overweight, diabetes and malnutrition, in our country, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of the Economy and various bodies and associations working for health and consumer protection, promoted the reform of the General Health Act on the front labelling of processed foods and pre-packaged non-alcoholic beverages, published in the Official Journal of the Federation on 8 November last year, in order to ensure that consumers have visible, clear and effective labelling enabling them to be informed about the food they eat, compare the food product options on the market and choose from the various healthier alternatives.
Without a doubt, this arduous work has a laudable end but it unfortunately involves inappropriate changes to the Mexican Official Standard NOM-051-SCFI/SSA1-2010, published on April 5, 2010, on general labelling specifications for labelling food and non-alcoholic beverages, trade and health information, which put brands in trouble in the first instance.
Among the proposed amendments to the Draft Amendment to Mexican Official Standard NOM-051-SCFI/SSA1-2010 General Labelling Specifications for Pre-packaged Food and Non-alcoholic Beverages-Trade and Health Information, released on 5 April 2010, which was made available in the Official Journal of the Federation on the 11th of October of the year two thousand and nineteen, was the following article;
4.1.5 No characters, drawings, celebrities, gifts, offers, toys or contests, price or content related offers, shall be used on the label of pre-packaged products that include a stamp, visual-spatial games or advertisements of social networks of the product, encouraging its consumption.
It proposed a ban on the placing on the label of pre-packaged products of characters and/or drawings, with the possible consequence that generic packages exist on the market which confuse the consumer about the business origin of the products, while at the same time creating competitive disadvantages by limiting the use of brands on the packaging, whereas in a second instance, it also prohibited the use of celebrity images, games, offers and advertisements on social networks that encourage the consumption of these products, thereby severely curtailing contracts for the use of image and advertising, being also important Intellectual Property assets.
Finally, at the end of the sixty calendar days to carry out the necessary discussions on this project and approved the amendments to the law on 24 January this year, by the National Consultative Committee for Standardization of the Ministry of Economy (CCONNSE) and the National Advisory Committee on Standardization of Health Regulation and Promotion (CCNNRFS), on March 27, 2000, published the Modification of the Mexican Official Norm NOM-051-SCFI/SSA1-2010 General labelling specifications for pre-packaged food and non-alcoholic beverages-Trade and health information, published on 5 April 2010, in which the following is styled;
4.1.5 Pre-packaged products bearing one or more warning seals or the legend of sweeteners shall not:
a) include on the label children’s characters, animations, cartoons, celebrities, sportsmen or pets, interactive elements, such as visual games – space games or digital downloads, which, being aimed at children, encourage, promote or encourage consumption; buying or choosing products with excess critical nutrients or sweeteners; and
b) reference on the label to elements outside the label for the same purposes as the previous paragraph. The application of this paragraph must be made in accordance with the provisions of other applicable laws.
This provision will enter into force on 21 April of the year two thousand and twenty-one, which will have a considerable impact on both consolidated brands and those that are just beginning to gain a place in the market by preventing them from using characters in their products, animations, cartoons, celebrities, athletes or pets that are a fundamental part in the design of their identities and that are perfectly identified by the public, likewise the way of advertising their products will be diminished, advertising strategies and agreements on the use of images.
If you are a producer of processed foods or pre-packaged non-alcoholic beverages and want to know more about the measures as well as the strategies you will need to protect your brand and designs against these new requirements, Go to Bandala | Díaz | García we have the advice you need.