Phase 2 of Mexico’s Front-of-Pack Nutrition Labeling Updates

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Phase 2 of Mexico’s Front-of-Pack Nutrition Labeling Updates

Food and beverage manufacturers that sell products in Mexico have had to make a lot of adjustments to food packages in the past few years. The biggest change has been the implementation of front-of-package (FOP) symbols for most packaged foods, including octagonal warning seals for foods that are high in sugars, trans or saturated fats, calories, or sodium. 

The initiative first kicked off in 2020 when Mexico passed revisions for how FOP symbols should be shown on food packaging and what information the symbols convey (you can view the bill in Spanish: Norma Oficial Mexicana NOM-051-SCFI/SSA1-2010). Mexico offered food manufacturers a multi-stage approach to adjust their food packages, and we are now approaching the second phase of implementation. As a reminder, here are the implementation dates: 

  • Phase 1 – November 1, 2020 – September 30, 2023 
  • Phase 2 – October 1, 2023 – September 30, 2025 
  • Phase 3 – Begins and continues after October 1, 2025 

You can learn more about Phase 1 on our previous blog post: Creating Mexico FOP Warning Seals and Statements. Now, we’ll dive into what Phase 2 entails and how manufacturers can maintain compliance once the implementation date arrives.  

Note for Genesis Foods users: Phase 2 has already been implemented into the most recent update of Genesis Foods. You can learn more about those changes on our Genesis 11.13 Update blog post. 

Overview of Phase 2

As of October 1, 2023, Phase 1 requirements will be replaced with Phase 2 criteria. Those changes will include:  

  • Excess Calories Liquid: Warning symbol criteria: ≥ 70 kcal total OR ≥ 8 kcal from added sugars (was previously ≥ 10 kcal from added sugars).  
  • Excess Sugars Liquid: Warning symbol criteria: beverages with <10 kcal from added sugars are no longer exempt.  
  • Excess Sodium Solids: Warning symbol criteria: ≥ 1 mg sodium per kcal or ≥ 300 mg. 

Additionally, the following critical nutrients to foods and beverages will be evaluated:  

  • For products with Added Sugars, evaluate only Energy and Added Sugars threshold requirements. 
  • For products with Added Fats, evaluate only Energy, Saturate Fat, and Added Trans Fat threshold requirements. 
  • For Products with Added Sodium, evaluate only Sodium threshold requirements. 

Warning Seals

The warning seals and statements released with Phase 1 are still in effect but will be based on the new criteria for Phase 2.  

This table outlines the Phase 2 threshold values: 

100-gram solid products and 100-milliliter liquid products must follow these nutrient calculations for FOP warning symbols.

The warning symbols are octagonal, black and white seals. Here are examples and the requirements for each: 

(English translation in the order above: excess calories, excess sugar, excess saturated fat, excess trans fat, and excess sodium.)
English translation in the order above: excess calories, excess sugar, excess saturated fat, excess trans fat, and excess sodium.
  • Shape: Regular octagon.
  • Background color: Black with white outline.
  • Font: Arial Bold in white, to contrast with the black background.
  • Placement: Primary Display Panel (usually top right corner of the front of a product package).

Food products should display all the warning seals relevant to the food product being packaged. For example, a bag of flavored potato chips could have the excess calories seal, excess trans fat, and excess sodium seals. The regulations also set requirements for how those seals should be ordered and laid out. Here are a couple examples:

Small Packaging Display Guidelines

For food products that have a display area of ≤ 5 cm² must include one seal with a number indicating how many nutrients exceeded the threshold in the food product. In Genesis, we have a quick tutorial to show how those symbols can be changed.

Here are some examples of the numbered seals for small packages:

Other Changes Carrying Over from Phase 1

The majority of Phase 2 changes relate to the criteria for FOP labeling of foods. However, there are some other changes that carry over from the first phase, including warnings to discourage the consumption of sweeteners or caffeine by children. These symbols should display in the top right corner below other warning seals.

  • Contains Caffeine – Children Should Avoid (Contiene Cafeina – Evítar en Niños): Products that contain caffeine must include the warning declaration, as shown here:

A caffeine warning symbol for a Mexican label.

  • Contains Sweeteners: Products that contain “substances different from mono- and disaccharides that provide sweet flavor to products” must display a warning for sweeteners that says “Contains sweeteners, not recommended for children” (Contiene Edulcorantes, No Recommendable En Niños). The warning should look like this:

mexico fop sweetners warning statement mexico sweetners fop warning label

Don’t Let the Next Phase Catch You by Surprise

Regulatory changes happen all the time, and keeping up with the various international food labeling regulations can be daunting. But before you let the next Phase of Mexico’s updates catch you by surprise, you can get a solution that automatically updates with the latest government guardrails to help you stay compliant with U.S., Canadian, and/or Mexican labeling guidelines. 

Genesis Foods offers food manufacturers automated label creation when inputting ingredients, as well as a warning seal notification to let you know when you exceed one of the Phase 2 thresholds. To learn more about our solution, contact our team today.