As of this Sunday any chile not grown in New Mexico cannot advertise itself as a ‘New Mexico chile’. The ‘New Mexico Chile Advertising Act’ will be monitored by the U.S. Agriculture department to ensure all chile’s labeled ‘New Mexico chile’ are indeed grown in New Mexico.
The law was put in place it great part to defend local growers from Latin American chiles. Local growers have complained that restaurants and retailers are selling ‘New Mexican chiles’ though they are in fact imports.
The chile pepper is the state’s staple agricultural product much like potatoes are to Idaho. More than 72,000 tons of chiles are grown in New Mexico annually.
The law was signed by Governor Susana Martinez in 2011 and went into effective this past Sunday. This law does not product the other very popular New Mexico-grown pepper - the jalapeño.