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What are Normas Oficiales Mexicanas, or NOMs in Mexico? A primer.

What are Normas Oficiales Mexicanas, or NOMs in Mexico? A primer.

NOMs in Mexico, or Normas Oficiales Mexicanas, are mandatory rules applicable mainly to the labeling of imported product for sale in Mexican national territory.

From a historical perspective, unlike in the United States, setting standards for products in Mexico was done with little or no feedback provided by privately-owned industry and consumers. As a result, non-govermental organizations and bodies for testing and certifying products that exist in Europe, the United States and globally did not exist in Mexico. There were no private Mexican companies like TUV, Underwriters Laboratories, Consumer Testing Services or UL  to establish and test standards, and to award certifications in the country.  Testing and certification was a historically top down proposition.

In 1992, the Mexican government decided to take action to adopt a different approach toward setting standards for and certifying products. It made a move towards assigning some of the responsibility for these activities to private sector entities, as well as to organizations that were a blend of public and private participation. The underpinning of this shift can be found in the Federal Metrology and Standardization Law (LFMN), which was first passed and implemented in the late 1980s and updated in 1992. The law was conceived and implemented for the purpose of providing consumers and productive entities alike greater access and transparency as both relate to the development and implementation of rules and and processes followed to develop the standards used to certify the quality and reliability of manufactured goods.

Today, the Mexican Economic Secretariat, or Secretaria de la Economia, has the ultimate responsibility for overseeing the nation’s standardization activities. In the country there are two important terms to be aware of:

  • NOMs in Mexico
  • Mexican Voluntary Standards

NOMs in Mexico are regulations that are in their nature, technical. They are associated with labeling requirements that are defined, issued and published in the country’s Diario Oficial by issuing government agencies and ministerial bodies. Adherence to NOMs in Mexico is mandatory.

Mexican Voluntary Standards are issued by groups that define national standards. Whereas, at one time, these groups were strictly governmental, today they are comprised of private, as well as bodies that are composed of both public and private parties. As the name suggests, the adoption and application of standards formulated and defined by such entities is by choice.

In order to comply with mandatory NOMS in Mexico, all products that are destined for commercial sale within the country must be labeled in Spanish. If the goods are imported, labeling must take place before the items for sale enter into Mexican commercial territory. NOMs in Mexico are often specific to the product that is being sold, but, in general terms and in most instances, labels must be included on products that include:

  • The name of the business that produced the product and the physical address of the importing party or company
  • The name of the exporter, if it happens to be different from that of the manufacturer of the product
  • The contents  and ingredients used in the elaboration of the product
  • The product’s commercial name or trademark
  • Warnings that may be logically apply to the handling of the product, if it is dangerous
  • Instructions for the item’s care or use

The aforementioned information constitutes only an introductory primer on NOMS in Mexico.

Comprehensive information on the subject can be obtained by consulting with the experts at the Tecma Group of Companies. Remember that following the rules and regulations related to them enable the problem free commercialization and sale of products in the nation’s domestic marketplace. This is fundamental to any Mexican business initiative’s economic success.

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