Consumer Protection Agency Takes on Tequila
(Tepic, Nayarit, 13 September) Tequila, the pride of Jalisco and Mexico as a whole, is legally defined by formal standards, and they have even been incorporated in international documents, such as the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). Unfortunately, not all that calls itself “Tequila” is the genuine article. During the patriotic holidays in September, neighboring Nayarit will consume large quantities of the national beverage; however, not all of it will be authentic.
To remedy this problem, Mexico’s special attorney general for consumer protection (PROFECO) has been investigating Tequila, to make sure anything that is offered to the public will be genuine. The “Special Verification Operation” was launched in Jalisco on September 5, starting in Jalisco with the famous “Tequila Route,” which include towns well-known to tequila tourists: Arenal, Amatitán and Tequila.
In Nayarit, the PROFECO representative, Lic. Higinio Madrigal Montaño, said the “verification operation” will extend to Nayarit so as to offer more security to the consumer of tequila, no matter where he or she celebrates Mexico’s independence from Spain. Historically, this week represents the heaviest tequila consumption of the whole year. The operation is also being extended to Mezcal. One tip: If the label says “Mescal” with an “s,” it is probably not authentic. PROFECO-Nayarit warns that the ingestion of alcohol that does not conform to standards can be seriously damaging to a person’s health.
PROPECO Jalisco has already visited 64 distilleries and verified 192,554 bottles of tequila and other distillates of agave as well as over 200,000 liters of tequila in bulk, disqualifying about 1% for falling short of the standards. Nayarit’s PROFECO representative Madrigal Montaño has announced that the effort will begin shortly in earnest in Nayarit as well. Most of the infractions deal with inadequate lot identification and other documentation, rather than with chemical composition. Brands most affected in the initial phase of the operation were La Vieja Taberna and Rancho Escondido. Enigma, an agave liqueur, also failed inspection with respect to 360 bottles.
Another matter of interest to PROFECO nationwide is the promotion of certain tequilas as “organic products,” something that cannot easily be verified. Samples from distilleries are being analyzed by chemical laboratories of PROFECO.