In 2011, New Mexico passed a law stating that any chile which was not specifically grown in the state could not be labeled as ‘New Mexican’ chile. The law included the usage of any geographical locations, such as Hatch or Chimayo, in this label. If the chile doesn’t actually come from that location, it can’tbe advertised in a way to make people think it does. While the Chile Guy has always been particular about knowing where his chile comes from, not every supplier was.
It’s Not Just in New Mexico!
This isn’t the first law passed which keeps external competition from claiming a false geographical indication. Florida oranges and Napa Valley wines are both listed under U.S. trademark laws. If an orange is grown in California, it can’t be sold as a Florida orange. This is the same type of regulation that New Mexico is striving to use in the New Mexico Chile Advertising Act.
Distributors of chile have to either present documentation stating their chile was grown in New Mexico or clearly label their product “NOT GROWN IN NEW MEXICO” when prepping it for sale if it’s named for a New Mexico location. Not only is this meant to protect the economy of the regions where chile is grown, it provides peace of mind for restaurants who are trying to offer New Mexico chile.
Does This Mean I Can’t Legally Name a Dish After a Region?
One of the specifics noted in the law itself are menu items. If you’ve been offering a dish named ‘Taste of Hatch,’ you don’t have to get a new menu printed. Restaurants may continue to describe menu items with geographical names if they make the origins of the chile used for the menu items clear.
If you want to know where your chile is coming from, contact us and get clear information what you can expect with an order from the Chile Guy.