Agave Quality Assurance (AQA) and the Norma: The Mexican Definition of Agave Syrup. Download a PDF version of this document here.
The Secretariat of Economy for the United Mexican States (Mexico) approved the Norma Oficial Mexicana (Official Mexican Standard), more commonly known as NOM or Norma, on May 12, 2009. A certified English translation is available on the IOAA website. The NOM defines the nature and source of raw materials, provides specifications, authenticity testing methods and labeling requirements. The purpose of this IOAA document is to provide a brief synopsis on key sections.
The NOM establishes that products commercially recognized as Agave Syrup are made from wholly (100%) Blue Variety of Agave Tequiliana Weber or from Agave Salmiana [sec 1 & 5]. Flavor and color from natural vegetable products may be added, but “no mixtures are allowed among different types of Agave” [sec 220.127.116.11]. In products labeled Agave Syrup, additives and adulterants such as (but not limited to) glucose, dextrin, fructose and other sugars, with origins other than agave are not allowed [sec 6.1.5]. Product authenticity testing is defined by methods and processes utilizing chromatography [sec 18.104.22.168]. Complying labels ‘[specify the] kind and variety of agave used’. [sec 9.1.1]
The specifications for Blue Agave Syrup [sec 6.1.2, table 1] and Salmiana Agave Syrup [sec 6.1.2, table 2] are listed. Maximum sucrose, dextrose, mannitol, maltose and other sugars as well as minimum fructose levels are listed [sec 6]. Other sugars must be “wholly made [from] 100% Agave,” meaning the only “other sugars” allowed are those inherently found in agave syrup.
As is common in all major food categories, producing and marketing “100% Pure Agave Syrup” must be monitored to ensure it meets NOM standards. Ensuring composition and quality of “100% Pure Agave Syrup” is addressed by labeling requirements in the country of export and/or import in conjunction with authentication testing. For agave syrup, gas chromatography is used to perform oligosaccharide profiling.
Additional information concerning testing of agave syrup is available on IOAA website:
Agave Quality Assurance: Summary of Analytical Tools for Testing
Agave Quality Assurance: How It Works
Application of Authenticity Testing to Agave Syrups
Prepared by: Jonathan De Vries Ph.D.
Pages 2 – 5 contain the section of the NORMA noted above
Index of the six excerpts from the NORMA
|1||Purpose & scope||4|
|6||Specifications||10 & 11|
|6.1.5||Additives and adulterants||12|
|22.214.171.124||Basis [for testing]||15|
|9.1.1||Marketing & labeling||26|
Appendix: NMX-FF-110-SCFI-2008, Agave Syrup – Specifications and Experimentation Methods