The Federal Consumer Prosecutor’s Office ensures that they do not comply with the milk, fats, and sugars that they declare to the consumer
The Government of Mexico has ordered the immediate suspension of the sale of various cheeses and a couple of yogurts in Mexican stores because the ingredients declared on their labeling “mislead consumers” and warns that the necessary fines will be imposed. The Ministry of the Economy and the Federal Consumer Prosecutor’s Office (Profeco) has detected that in some cheeses a composition of 100% milk is declared when this is not the case or that vegetable fat is added to replace part of the milk indicated on the label. Neither the net weight of the product adjusts to the truth in some cases nor the caseinates appear collected on the main surface of the food.
The ban on selling these products affects 20 brands of cheese in some of their commercial presentations and two of yogurt, which declares to be “natural” when they have added sugar or do not meet the minimum milk content, according to the Economy statement. Danone Bene Gastro and Danone Natural have been banned. Among the cheeses, the affected brands are Fud, Nochebuena, Premier Plus Cuadritos, Zwan, Caperucita, Burr, Precissimo, Frankly, Selecto Brand, Galbani, Lala, El Parral, Portales, Walter, Sargento, Cremería Covadonga, Aurrera, and Philadelphia.
Some of these commercial houses have immediately come out to defend their products. Lala has sent a statement in which she states that her 400-gram sliced lactose Manchego cheese is 100% milk and complies with the 2018 regulations in this regard. They assure that they have already solved another problem that Profeco pointed out in April about the absence of the country of origin of Manchego cheese on the labeling. A couple of years ago, the denomination of origin of the cheeses unleashed another storm, this time with the European Union, Since many of the products sold in Mexico use prestigious names from the other side of the Atlantic, without the cheese having anything to do with them: this is the case of Manchego, Feta, Parmesan, Gouda, and so on. An agreement was reached with some of them, but the European consumer continues to be amazed when they taste these dairy products in Mexico, believing that they will be the real thing.
On this occasion, the breaches detected by Profeco are of a different order. The Mondelēz International group has rushed to clarify that its products involved in this complaint are “reduced-fat” and “normal” cheese from the Philadelphia brand, but not the famous cream cheese from the same firm. The ban on selling is “totally unfounded”, “generates surprise and confusion in the company” and “damages the reputation of the brand”, they complain in a statement. In their defense, they criticize a formal breach, which “the authority did not notify the company in a timely manner of the start of the administrative procedure.” Likewise, they affirm that on September 25, the Profeco laboratory “issued favorable results on the quality” of the product they sell, which, they understand, “validates their regulatory compliance.”
Both companies, Mondelēz International and Lala assure in their communications that they will be in contact with the authority to clarify this matter, of which the consumer will be informed with transparency.
The Mexican government has been trying for some time to regulate some of the products for sale throughout the country that is high in sugar or fat. It prohibited the display and sale of highly sugary sweets and soft drinks in schools. And some states, such as Oaxaca, with high rates of obesity among the most vulnerable population, have recently voted severe laws for the sale of these products among minors, the first in childhood obesity in the country. The messages from the federal government, both from President López Obrador, and from the health authorities have been resounding in this regard.