Image credits: Yuya Tamai
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Weekly Roundups

Government Suspends Sale of Multiple Dairy Products

By Jan Hogewoning | Thu, 10/15/2020 - 17:51

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Economy and the Federal Consumer Prosecutor's Office (Profeco) announced the suspension of sales of a range of brands of yoghurt and cheese, which they claim have failed to comply with several Official Mexican Standards established by the Quality Infrastructure Law. More specifically, the Ministry pointed to non-compliance to the Official Cheese Standard NOM-223-SCFI / SAGARPA-2018, as well as NOM-002-SCFI-2011 on net content-tolerances and verification methods and NOM-051-SCFI / SSA1-2010. These standards are part of the general labeling specifications for prepackaged food and nonalcoholic beverages. This suggests the motive of the suspension is the inadequate labeling of the products.

After having spread confusion about the scale of the ban, the ministry clarified that there were only 23 different products of cheese that had in fact been suspended. This includes products manufactured by the brands Fud, Nochebuena, Premier Plus Cuadritos, Zwan, Caperucita, Burr, Precissimo, Frankly, Selecto Brand (part of Chedraui), Galbani, Lala, El Parral, Portales, Walter, Sargento, Cremería Covadonga, Aurrera and Philadelphia. In the case of yoghurts, the brands that have been suspended are Danone BeneGastro and Danone Natural. Authorities also announced that the manufacturers would be fined.

In response to the suspension, Mondelez, producer of Philadelphia, stated that the ban on their product was unfounded. It also clarified, however, that it is not Philadelphia cream cheese which has been subject to the ban but its Philadelphia American cheese products. In separate statements, dairy giants Lala and Danone stated that labeling on their products had already been corrected to meet the norm.

In his morning press conference today, President López Obrador defended the suspension. “The purpose is not to harm companies. We just have to take care of the health of the people. There is a great deal of fraud,” he said. He also explained that some adulterated chemicals are used to manufacture dairy products. 

 

 

Interested in more news? Here are the week’s biggest headlines in Agribusiness & Food!

 

  • This weekend, Ignacio Ovalle Fernández, Director General of Mexican Food Safety (SEGALMEX), presented the implementation of the Nutrition Education Strategy for Vulnerable Communities. Essential to the strategy are Diconsa stores, where government subsidized essential foods are sold. Fernández stressed that the strategy will aim to educate communities on how to adopt an accessible and healthy diet.

 

  • On Monday, the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) described the proposal of MORENA legislators to change the calculation of the Special Tax on Production and Services (IEPS) to alcoholic beverages as moving too fast. During the first day of Open Parliament to review the Economic Package 2021, representatives of the wine, mezcal and tequila industries expressed their support for the MORENA initiative. However, the Ministry has estimated that the loss in tax collection could be as much as MX$20 billion (US$937 million). The proposal, if passed, would shift tax calculation from an assessed value of the item (Ad Valorem) to a fixed fee based on the content of alcohol in the drink (Ad Quantum)

 

  • Meanwhile the Mezcal Regulatory Council (CRM) has requested an even floor regarding fees charged. It pointed out that the current calculation formula adversely affects mezcal distillers compared to lower quality drinks.

 

  • On Tuesday, El Financiero published a detailed report on how the new labeling rules are changing the formulation of products. Several trends, particularly to make products healthier, were already ongoing before the new standard went into effect in Mexico.

 

  • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) continues to promote nopal as a product that could relieve hunger. The cactus is widely eaten in Mexico but not in other places around the world. It requires very little water to be cultivated, so it can be grown in areas affected by drought.

 

 

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Mexico Business News, SADER, El Financiero, El Economista, FoodandWines, LatinUS, Milenio, El Universal, CNNEspañol, SADER
Photo by:   Yuya Tamai
Jan Hogewoning Jan Hogewoning Journalist and Industry Analyst

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