Overview of the different labeling and marking requirements, including any restrictive advertising or labeling practices and where to get more information.
Products entering Uruguay must comply with all national legislation, as well as Mercosur legislation adopted by Uruguay. Some departmental (state) governments are also entitled to establishing labeling rules and inspections.
The Laboratorio Tecnológico del Uruguay (LATU, Uruguay’s technical laboratory), the Ministry of Public Health, and departmental governments control labeling and marking requirements for all imported products. Products such as textiles, foodstuff, footwear, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, cigarettes, and cosmetics have their own specific labeling requirements.
Labeling requirements for foodstuffs were established by Decrees 315/94, 41/92, and 41/93. According to legislation, labels must be in Spanish, contain a list of ingredients or components of the product, country of origin, expiration date, net weight, and the full name and address of the manufacturer and importer, plus preparation instructions. The departmental government of Montevideo also regulates how the different requirements must be shown on the label.
Imported products may include the original label of the country/language of origin but must also have a sticker or label attached to the package with the information required by Uruguay’s authorities. Manuals, product literature, and other written materials, while not required, will be more useful if written in Spanish. A consumer defense law, approved in 2000, regulates labeling requirements. Companies that can adapt their labels to local standards have a competitive advantage.
Since February 2018, departmental (state) food labeling laws have been enacted making it mandatory to label food products containing genetically modified organism (GMO). Private laboratories and the Food Molecular Traceability Laboratory in the University of the Republic conduct testing for GMO ingredients in food.
In 2018, Uruguay issued the decree 272/18 mandating that packaged food labels must indicate if the food has high levels of fat, sugars, sodium or trans fats. The implementation of the decree came into effect in February 2021, aligned with the labeling norm to the MERCOSUR food labeling regulations. Uruguay is the second country in Latin America after Chile to make food labelling mandatory in products with excess of fats, sodium and sugar and wants to become a reference for MERCOSUR countries on this topic.