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UPDATE 1-Mexico bans global brands' dairy products for breaching standards

(Adds comment from Danone)

MEXICO CITY, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Mexico’s economy ministry has suspended the sale of over 20 dairy products for breaching standards, including items sold under Mondelez International Inc’s Philadelphia brand and natural yogurt made by France’s Danone.

Of the 19 cheese brands affected, the violations included erroneously claiming to be “100% milk,” using vegetable fat to replace milk, and providing a lower net content in grams than advertised on the packaging, the ministry said late on Tuesday.

Mondelez said on Wednesday the ministry’s order did not affect Philadelphia soft cheese and related to two types of processed cheese marketed under that label.

Mondelez said it was surprised by the order, calling it “totally unfounded,” and damaging to the brand.

It said it had not been promptly notified by the ministry on the start of the administrative procedure and that it would hold a “cordial dialogue” with authorities to clear things up.

Other companies affected by the cheese ban included Grupo Lala, a major Mexican producer of dairy produce.

The economy ministry said the bans on natural yogurt applied to the Danone Bene Gastro and Danone Natural products.

The products were identified due to the addition of sugars and for failing to meet minimum milk content, it said.

Danone said it had earlier this month replaced the labels on the two products singled out by consumer protection officials, and had communicated those modifications to the authorities.

In light of that step, the decision to suspend the products was “untimely,” Danone said in a statement. The company remained open to resolve any outstanding issues, it added. (Reporting by Raul Cortes, Ana Isabel Martinez and Sharay Angulo Writing by Dave Graham, Editing by Nick Zieminski and Tom Brown)

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