Mexico bans global brands' dairy products for breaching standards

MEXICO CITY, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Mexico’s economy ministry has suspended the sale of over 20 dairy products for breaching standards, including items sold under Mondelez International Inc.’s Philadelphia brand and natural yoghurt made by France’s Danone.

Of the 19 cheese brands affected, the violations included erroneously claiming to be “100% milk,” using vegetable fat to replace milk, and providing a lower net content in grams than advertised on the packaging, the ministry said in a statement late on Tuesday.

Mondelez said on Wednesday the ministry’s order did not affect Philadelphia soft cheese and related to two types of processed cheese marketed under that label.

Other companies affected by the cheese ban included Grupo Lala, a major Mexican producer of dairy produce.

The economy ministry said the bans on natural yoghurt applied to the Danone Bene Gastro and Danone Natural products.

The products were identified due to the addition of sugars and for failing to meet minimum milk content, it said.

Mondelez said in a statement on Wednesday that it was surprised by the ministry’s order, calling it “totally unfounded” and damaging to the brand.

It said it had not been promptly notified by the ministry on the start of the administrative procedure and that it would hold “cordial dialogue” with authorities to clear up the matter. (Reporting by Raul Cortes and Ana Isabel Martinez Writing by Dave Graham, Editing by Nick Zieminski)