Mexican M2K Restrictions Enter into Force

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31/07/2014
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On 15 July, the Mexican Health Ministry issued a press release announcing the entry into force of regulations restricting food advertising to children. The regulations restrict the advertising of food products which do not meet nutrition criteria, largely inspired by the EU Pledge, between 2:30 PM - 7:30 PM Monday-Friday and 7:00 AM - 7:30 PM Saturday-Sunday.

Advertisers who wish to advertise products which do not meet the nutrition criteria during the restricted hours may nevertheless request prior authorisation from the public authority. Such authorisation will only be granted if accompanied with evidence from an independent body that the audience at the proposed time of broadcast is composed of less than 35% of children between the ages of 4 and 12. The public authority must respond to the advertiser's request within 20 days.

The restrictions, introduced as part of a broad National Action Plan on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), also apply in cinemas during children's movies (rated 'AA') and general audience movies rated ('AA').

The nutrition criteria were developed by Cofepris (The Federal Commission for protection against health risks) and are very similar to those of the EU Pledge initiative. There are however a few differences:
  • Cofepris nutrition criteria include specific criteria for “flavoured beverages with low energy content” (max 40kcal/200ml and 28mg of sodium and 5gr of sugar per 100ml), juices (max 130 kcal/250ml, 10mg of sodium and 13gr of sugar per 100ml), nectars (max 104 kcal/200ml, 28mg of sodium and 13gr of sugar per 100ml) and “liquid soy foods”;
  • They include specific categories for “sugar cookies” and “cereal bars” (max 160kcal/serving, 450mg, 10gr of saturated fat and 30gr of sugar per 100gr), “fresh cheese” (panela, oaxaca, etc..), as well as for “corn tortillas, wheat, maize, wheat toast and flat breads”;
  • The criteria for “breakfast cereals, including porridge”, are slightly more lenient than the EU Pledge criteria, with a sodium limit of 500mg of per 100g (compared with a limit of 450mg/100gr under the EU Pledge criteria);
  • Unlike the EU Pledge, food products do not need to contain specific components to encourage.

Additionally, the press release states that products of high nutritional value will be awarded a label. As of today, 9 products have been given the authorisation to use that label.


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