New Mexico chiles becomes protected under new law

Farmington Daily TimesCon men have had an easy time claiming that any old pepper was a New Mexico chile. Now the state’s iconic agricultural product will be more on par with Washington apples and Idaho potatoes. Pass off impostor products as those specialty foods and you are guilty of trademark infringement. New Mexico legislators did not obtain a trademark for homegrown chile, but they approved a protective law that will be enforced starting Sunday. The New Mexico Chile Advertising Act makes it unlawful for vendors to label fresh or processed chile as being from New Mexico unless it was actually grown in the state. Vendors subject to the new law include groceries, restaurants, convenience stores, farmers’ markets and roadside vegetable stands. State Rep. Andy Nunez, an independent from the chile capital of Hatch, sponsored the law. It was approved by Legislature and signed by Gov. Susana Martinez in 2011. Nunez said he wanted to end persistent deceptions occurring across the state. Chile from Peru, India, China and Mexico was being imported to New Mexico, then falsely billed on labels or menus as the home-state product. “New Mexico chile is the best. We have to do our best to protect it,” Nunez said. Eight inspectors in the Standards and Consumer Division of the the state Department of Agriculture will have the job of rooting out chile impostors in New Mexico. Read More News New Mexico



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