Abstract At the end of 1982, Mexico's innovative food policy, known as the Mexican Food System (SAM), was abandoned by the new administration. At its inception in March 1980, it had generated interest (both praise and criticism) from outside Mexico - after all the challenges and choices facing SAM were not unique to Mexico. SAM consisted of a combination of strategic ingredients, a coherent set of policies through which Mexico's food problems would be solved by its new petroleum wealth. This paper re-examines the SAM experience in the hope of learning from it. It moves on to observe Mexico's new National Food Programme (PRONAL) and assesses the extent to which it reflects the lessons of SAM.