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Key principles & main regulatory organisations

Originally published in the official government gazette “El Diario Oficial” in July 1, 1992, the Ley Federal Sobre Metrología y Normalización (Federal Law of Metrology and Standardization) as amended, establishes the framework around which Mexico’s food laws are built.

Coordinated by Mexico’s National Standards Office (Dirección General de Normas - DGN), a division of the Secretariat of Economy (Secretaría de Economía - SE), this law provides for two types of regulations (reglamentos) -- official mandatory standards, Normas Oficiales Mexicanas (NOMs) and a set of voluntary standards, Normas Mexicanas (NMX), to determine the quality of goods and services.

Other federal agencies such as the Secretariat of Health (Secretaría de Salud - SSA) and Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Development (SAGARPA) may promulgate standards that affect agricultural and food product regulations but they must work through the Secretariat of Economy.

Administered by the Secretaría de Salud (SSA), Mexico’s Ley General de Salud (General Health Law) is the basic legislation defining the country’s public health policy. Sanitary control of the processing, importation and exportation of all foods and beverages also fall under the jurisdiction of the SSA.

Food additives are mentioned in the NOMs and NMXs of different products. However, all permitted additives are based on a positive list published by the SSA on July 17, 2006. Positive listed additives are allowed in foods, unless restricted or prohibited by a specific NOM.