Labeling and Marking Requirements in Colombia

A Hot Tip about Packaging and Labeling in Colombia

Last updated: 10 Mar 2011

Specific marks or labels are not required, except for food, pharmaceutical products, and textiles. Labels on processed food products must indicate: the specific name of the product, ingredients in order of amount, name and address of manufacturer and importer, country-of-origin, number of units, instructions for storage and usage (when required), expiration date, and other instructions as required by the Ministry of Social Protection or the Industry and Commerce Superintendent. Labels and illustrations cannot be inaccurate or misleading.

 

Labels on pharmaceutical products must indicate in Spanish: "for sale under medical, dental or veterinary prescription,” with the generic name, commercial name, net weight or volume, weight or quantity of active ingredients, license number and the lot control number. Products having limited shelf life should include the date of expiration.

 

Insecticides and other toxic products should display the skull and crossbones, the word "poison" in Spanish, and information regarding usage and antidotes. Products for which there are no antidotes cannot be licensed and can only be used in programs under the direct control of public health authorities.

 

There are various inconsistencies regarding labeling in the alcoholic beverages and spirits industry that affect both nationals and foreigners, and relates to taxation associated to labeling and recipients. This is expected to be resolved in the near future by a final decree dealing with the different aspects of alcoholic beverage production, distribution, sales and trade.

 

Food Labeling Requirements: The Government of Colombia requires country-of-origin labeling for processed foods products. However, it does not classify frozen vegetables as a processed food and, therefore, no country of origin labeling is required. Also, fresh fruit and vegetables do not require country of origin labeling.

 

The government issued Resolution 5109 of December 29, 2005 through the Ministry of the Social Protection, establishing labeling requirements for canned food and raw food products. Recently the government advised the WTO of upcoming regulations on packages and containers used in direct contact with food products.

 

Colombian labeling requirements for processed foods do not address the question of ingredient origin. Therefore, if an imported food item contains ingredients from more than one country, for example, U.S. and Canadian peas in the same frozen package, the label must only identify the processor’s name and address and the country where the product was produced.

 

Product labeling information on imported processed products must be present at the point of retail sale. The responsibility for this labeling information rests with the importer, not the retailer. Many Colombian importers arrange for this information to be placed on the product by the exporting firm, before it enters Colombia.

 

 

 

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Posted: 05 May 2010, last updated 10 March 2011