Penalty for Charging for Natural Water in Restaurants

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The gastronomic landscape in Mexico City underwent a significant change with the enactment of the General Law of Adequate and Sustainable Nutrition, announced on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, through the Official Gazette of the Federation. It stated that restaurants will no longer be able to charge consumers for the consumption of natural water.

This law, consisting of 111 articles, aims to guarantee the right to health and water for diners in Mexico.

Prohibition of Charging for Natural Water in Restaurants

One of the most notable provisions of this new legislation is the express prohibition of charging for natural water in restaurants, as indicated in Article 29. It states that health authorities must verify that establishments providing potable water or beverages “offer non-bottled natural water, suitable for human consumption, at no cost to consumers.”

It also detailed that this law marks a series of provisions to promote healthy eating in restaurants, including maintaining a standard of food safety, offering natural water at no cost, promoting healthy eating messages on menus, limiting the use of fats and oils, offering healthy options on the menu; in addition to establishing that salt will be limited unless the customer requests it, in which case it cannot be denied.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

According to Article 109 of this decree, “violations referred to in Articles 22, 24, 29, and 35 will be sanctioned with a fine of 22,000 to 50,000 times the daily value of the Unit of Measure and Update”; this means that establishments that fail to comply with this regulation could face considerable fines, exceeding 5 million Mexican pesos.

Moreover, the temporary or definitive closure, as well as the total or partial closure of the establishment, is a latent possibility in case of infringement.

It added that the competent authority will individualize the sanctions considering the severity of the conduct constituting the infraction; the damages or injuries caused by the conduct constituting the infraction and the recurrence, if any, of the conduct constituting the infraction. In the case of recurrence, fines may be doubled, depending on the severity of the infraction committed.

Protection of Consumer Rights

This measure is part of the effort to protect consumer rights. Article 3 of the law prohibits discrimination based on various characteristics, such as gender, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, age, or ethnic origin. Restaurants that violate this provision could face fines ranging from 5,428 Mexican pesos to 2,171,000 Mexican pesos.

Furthermore, the law establishes that food producers and distributors must inform consumers about the inputs and processes used in the production of the products. Non-compliance with this regulation could result in fines ranging from 2,388,000 Mexican pesos to 5,428,000 Mexican pesos.

With these measures, the new law seeks not only to protect consumer rights but also to promote healthier eating habits in society, fostering a more responsible and transparent gastronomic environment in Mexico City.

Source: Telediario