Mexico Updates Apparel Labeling Requirements

The Mexican Ministry of Economy issued a resolution on Dec. 23, 2011, to amend the labeling requirements of the official Mexican Standard NOM-004-SCFI 2006 for textiles and apparel, which sets out the labeling of textile products, garments, accessories and household linen, and was originally published in the Official Journal of the Mexican Federation on June 21, 2006. The new requirements became effective on Feb. 23, 2012.

The amended requirements apply to most textile products where the textile component exceeds 50 percent by mass. This includes all items of clothing as well as associated accessories and household linens. However, certain disposable and household products are excluded from the labeling requirements. The exceptions include oven gloves, disposable cleaning cloths, disposable diapers, sanitary towels, cotton buds, baby wipes and materials used for wrapping and packaging as well as electric blankets, toys manufactured from textile materials, masks, furniture, watch straps, shields, flags, zips and/or fasteners, buttons and buckles made from textile materials.

With the new amendment, all references to standard NMX-A-099-INNTEX-2005 have been replaced by NMX-A-099-INNTEX-2007 (Terminology and classification of textile fibers and filaments); and NMX-A-240-INNTEX 2004 has been replaced by NMX-A-240-INNTEX-2009 (Textile industry clothing symbols in the care instructions of textile items - specifications).

An overview of the most significant changes:

• A new definition of ornaments - as fibers or yarns that confer a visible pattern or design on yarns or fabrics.

Specification of labels
  • Under the terms of Federal Consumer Protection Laws, all the commercial information required must be submitted in Spanish, but additionally may be in any other language.
  • For products containing a lining, repeating the commercial information about the lining is not necessary if the lining is made from the same material as the product.
  • Where one fiber represents less than 5 percent of the total, it may be designated as "other." When two or more fibers are present in amounts less than 5 percent each, they also may be included in a total of "other". e.g. 60 percent cotton, 30 percent polyester, 4 percent polyamide, 4 percent elastane and 2 percent acrylic, can be given as: 60 percent cotton, 30 percent polyester, 10 percent other.
  • Textiles containing two or more fibers have to list each of the fibers representing 5 percent or more of the content. The total of this list must be exactly 100 percent. The term "wool" may include fibers from sheep or lambs, angora, cashmere and may include fibers from camel hair, alpaca, llama and vicuna, as well as reprocessed or recycled wool products, e.g. 45 percent alpaca, 55 percent llama can be expressed as: 100 percent wool.
  • For textiles, household linen, clothing and accessories where two or more fibers are present are permitted a tolerance of 3 percent. This tolerance is on the mass of each of the fibers, not on the total mass of the product. When the label on a product states 40 percent cotton, it may actually contain between 37 percent and 43 percent of cotton. Note that the 3 percent tolerance rule does not apply for products of a single fiber (e.g. 100 percent cotton).
  • On finished products the country of origin shall be written in Spanish or in accordance with the country codes in force in the official General Rules on Foreign Trade.
The responsibility for monitoring the Mexican official standard will fall upon the Ministry of Economy and the Federal Consumer Protection Agency according to their respective powers.

The Mexican official standard establishes what commercial information is to accompany apparel and accessories of apparel. Apparel and accessories require a permanent and legible label on the collar, waist or any other visible location with the following information in Spanish (or any other language as well as Spanish):
  • Brand name
  • Fiber composition (Mexican Standard NMX-A-099-INNTEX-2007)
  • Size
  • Washing/care instructions
  • Country of origin (Mexican Standard NMX-A-240-INNTEX-2009)
  • For individuals: name and address of the manufacturer or importer and a voluntary federal taxpayer registration (RFC) number.
  • For companies: the name and address of the manufacturer or importer and a voluntary RFC number. This information must be included on a permanent label, on a temporary label or on closed packaging of the product.
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