Mexico's government has begun resolving a string of disputes with major food suppliers over dairy products pulled from market shelves this week for breaches of standards, and aims to settle pending issues quickly, a senior official said on Thursday.
Mexico late on Tuesday halted sales of over 20 dairy goods, including cheese products from US-based Mondelēz International Inc and Mexican firms Grupo Lala and Sigma, plus yogurt from France's Danone.
Ricardo Sheffield, head of Mexico's consumer protection office PROFECO, said he had reached agreements with Lala and Sigma over issues involving their products.
"We'll be working 24/7 until what can be resolved is resolved," he told Reuters, saying he had meetings lined up with representatives from the various firms through Tuesday.
'A Minor Issue'
There had been a minor issue with a brand of Lala Manchego cheese slices which was now cleared up, Sheffield said.
On Sigma, whose Fud brand had come under scrutiny, "four of five products are 100 percent resolved, and one product they were already going to withdraw from the market," he said.
The issue surrounding Danone was more complex because the two yogurt products singled out by authorities appeared to make "misleading" claims about their properties, he said, noting he had met company representatives earlier on Thursday.
The government said this week cheese product violations included erroneously claiming to be "100% milk," using vegetable fat to replace milk, and providing a lower net content than advertised on the packaging.
'A Labelling Issue'
Sheffield said he would meet with Mondelēz representatives on Monday afternoon to discuss what he described as a labelling issue on processed cheese marketed under the Philadelphia label. The dispute does not involve Philadelphia cream cheese.
Earlier, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had urged dialogue and said the government did not want to harm the companies, only to protect the public's health.
Economy Minister Graciela Marquez said she expected the companies to demonstrate compliance with the legal norms to keep their products on the shelves.
"I'm sure that this will be resolved favourably for consumers ... and in compliance with the rule of law," she said.