Updated Allergen Labeling Standards in Mexico

Allergen labeling is an important component of food safety, particularly for consumers who face serious health risks from allergies. Allergic reactions range from a small discomfort to a life-threatening emergency, so it is important to have accurate labeling on food products to prevent this. In response to growing concerns over these possible exposures to allergies, Mexico has updated its Official Mexican Standard (NOM) to place more importance on allergen labeling requirements. 

These updates aim to improve the clarity and visibility of allergen information on food labels, ensuring that consumers can make safe and informed choices about the products they consume. This article will unpack the new Mexican allergen labeling standards and how to apply them to your labels so that you remain compliant and pertinent to consumer health.


  • All food manufacturers, packagers, and distributors in Mexico must comply with the updated allergen labeling standards.
  • Compliance is crucial for local market success and international business expansion, helping to avoid legal issues and enhancing consumer trust.
  • The recent updates have expanded the list of allergens that must be declared on labels, including peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, wheat, gluten-containing grains, and soybeans.
  • Allergens must be clearly highlighted on labels to help consumers easily identify potential risks.
  • The “may contain” statements are now regulated to ensure they are used only when there is a genuine risk of allergen cross-contamination that cannot be eliminated.
  • These statements play a crucial role in product liability and consumer trust by providing necessary warnings about potential allergen presence.
  • Step-by-Step Guide to Allergen Labeling Compliance
    • Identifying Relevant Allergens: Businesses need to thoroughly review their recipes, analyze processing aids and additives, verify supplier information, and assess cross-contamination risks.
    • Implementing ‘May Contain’ Statements: Best practices include using risk assessments to justify statements, ensuring clear and prominent placement on labels, and regularly updating risk assessments and labels.
  • Tools like Food Label Maker are essential for ensuring allergen labels are accurate and compliant. They automate updates, ensure accuracy, streamline product launches, are easy to use, and integrate with existing systems.

Who Must Comply?

All manufacturers and distributors operating within the Mexican food and beverage industry are affected by the updated allergen labeling standards made by the Official Mexican Standard (NOM). The updates not only apply to businesses in the local market but it also applies to those who want to expand their business internationally. Following these standards is integral for legal reasons, as not complying with compliance will lead to negative repercussions by regulatory bodies in the future and will affect your business and products. 

Businesses that comply with these regulations also build trust and safety with their target market, especially when it comes to something as important as allergen labeling. Correct and clear indications of allergens on nutrition labels make consumers aware of what allergies are found in food products so that they don’t have a reaction or suffer detrimental health issues from consuming that food or beverage. 

Updated List of Declared Allergens

The most recent updates have stated that a more comprehensive list of allergens must be declared on food labels to protect consumers better. This updated list includes, but is not limited to, the following common allergens:

  • Gluten
  • Crustaceans and similar products
  • Eggs and byproducts
  • Fish and byproducts
  • Milk/dairy
  • Soy and byproducts
  • Tree nuts and peanuts*
  • Sulfites
  • Molluscs

*Note: Tree nuts must be listed by specific type. Example: Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, etc.

The updated rules outline that allergens must be highlighted in the ingredient list in a way that makes them stand out from non-allergenic ingredients. This could also be done by making the font bold, using a different font color, or enclosing them in parentheses. This presentation aims to instantly draw the consumer’s attention to these potential allergens that hopefully lessen the risk of them being accidentally exposed to them.

The revisions also cover how allergens are declared when they are part of multiple ingredients so that there is clear and comprehensive disclosure no matter how the allergens are incorporated into the food. For example, if a product contains a spice mix that includes nuts, the presence of nuts must be clearly indicated so that a consumer knows they are in the entire product.

Understanding New “May Contain” Labeling Requirements

The latest revisions to Mexico’s allergen labeling regulations include specific criteria for the use of “may contain” statements. This statement informs consumers that there may be allergens in their food products because the factory they were made in contained allergenic substances so there could have been unintended yet potential cross-contamination when it was manufactured. The new criteria specify that the “may contain” statement must only be used when there is a genuine risk of allergen presence and can’t be eliminated through other measures.

Not including this statement on food products could have legal implications for the product and could affect consumer trust. The “may contain” label must be accurately presented as it can help protect businesses from legal challenges that may arise in the future if a consumer does have an allergic reaction. It is essentially a cautionary measure, but one that businesses must take seriously. Additionally, for consumers with severe allergies, the “may contain” statement highlights information that could help them avoid products that might contain allergens and pose a risk to their health. This level of transparency and trust is crucial for manufacturers and businesses to have strong relationships with their customers, especially when it comes to nutrition and health. 

Step-by-Step Guide to Allergen Labeling Compliance

Identifying Relevant Allergens in Your Products

To make sure that your nutrition facts labels comply with the updated allergen labeling standards, you need to effectively identify and categorize all potential allergens that might be in your products. This involves:

  1. Reviewing Product Recipes: Look at all ingredients used in your products to determine if they contain or are derived from common allergens.
  2. Analyzing Processing Aids and Additives: Sometimes allergens can be introduced through processing aids or additives that are not always obvious from the ingredient list.
  3. Supplier Verification: Confirm allergen information with all ingredient suppliers to ensure accuracy and completeness of your allergen data.
  4. Cross-Contamination Risk Assessment: Evaluate your manufacturing processes to identify any stages where cross-contamination could occur.

This thorough examination helps categorize which allergens are present and need to be declared, as well as assess the risk of accidental presence which might necessitate a “may contain” statement.

Implementing ‘May Contain’ Statements

Applying “may contain” statements accurately is crucial for adhering to the new standards. Here are some best practices:

  • Risk-Based Approach: Only use “may contain” statements based on a documented risk assessment. Avoid using these statements as a generic disclaimer without evidence of a genuine contamination risk.
  • Clear and Prominent Placement: Ensure that these statements are clearly visible on the label, ideally close to the ingredient list or allergen declaration to ensure they are noticed by consumers.
  • Regular Review: Regularly review and update your risk assessments and labeling practices to account for any changes in production processes or new allergen risks.

Leveraging Technology for Efficient Compliance

To stay ahead of the curve, it is important for businesses in the food and beverage industry to utilize technology and nutrition facts software to generate your food labels and nutrition facts labels. Not only will it streamline your processes, but it will quicken your operations and allow you to scale your product. Using nutrition facts software or a label making tool will also allow you to follow regulatory standards, as these are pre-configured and embedded within the software itself, preventing you from having to manually check whether your labels are compliant.  

A company that can help with generating compliant nutrition facts labels is Food Label Maker. They are a platform that provides nutrition facts software and that can help you create compliant labels that align with Mexico’s new allergen labeling standards.

Here are a few benefits that you will experience working with their software:

  • Automation of Label Updates: Food Label Maker automatically updates labels to include the latest allergen information as they are updated. This means that there is less manual work and risk of human error, so your labels are always current without the need for constant monitoring.
  • Accuracy and Compliance: Their software helps format and place allergen information correctly on the label, in line with the updated NOM guidelines. This precision supports compliance and helps avoid any potential legal repercussions of mislabeling.
  • Streamlining Product Launches: With the ability to quickly adjust labels, this software lets manufacturers speed up the time it takes to get new products to market or update existing products. This efficiency is crucial in maintaining a competitive edge in the marketplace.
  • Ease of Use: Food Label Maker’s software is user-friendly so it is accessible to those who might not be tech-savvy. With intuitive interfaces and clear instructions, your team can start producing compliant labels almost immediately.
  • Integration Capabilities: Food Label Maker lets you integrate your data with existing enterprise systems, pulling data directly from your product information management systems. This integration further reduces the risk of errors and streamlines workflows.

By using a tool like Food Label Maker, you not only ensure compliance with Mexican allergen labeling standards but enhance operational efficiency and product safety. This protects your consumers and your brand’s reputation in the marketplace, so it is a wise choice for food manufacturers to utilize technology so that you can perfect quality and compliance.