Trans Fat Labeling: A New Mandatory Requirement

In March 2023, led by the Ministry of Health and the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks (COFEPRIS), a new decree titled “Article 216” was added to Mexico’s General Health Law. It relates to the regulation and limitation of industrially produced trans fatty acids.

This regulatory change is part of a broader effort under the Official Mexican Standard (NOM), specifically NOM-051, which enhances transparency in food labeling by warning consumers of excess trans fat in their food products. These updates are set to be fully implemented by 2025 and require clear and simple labels on packaged foods. This includes front-of-package warning labels for excessive nutrients like sugars, sodium, and fats. 

These changes are not only important for consumer health by helping individuals make more informed and better dietary choices, but they also ensure that the food industry aligns with global health standards. This article aims to outline the specifics of the new trans fat mandate for food labels and why it is important for public health and businesses within the food industry.


  • New Trans Fat Labeling Rule in Mexico: Affects manufacturers, packagers, and distributors within Mexico’s food and beverage sector, including local businesses and international exporters. These businesses must accurately reflect trans fat content in their product labels to comply with the new regulations.
  • Legislative Background: Initiated in March 2023, the new rules are part of Mexico’s General Health Law under “Article 216,” mandating that industrially-produced trans fatty acids (iTFAs) in food products must not exceed 2% of the total nutritional value.
  • Implementation Phases: Set to be fully implemented by 2025, the regulation phases align with the Official Mexican Standard (NOM), specifically NOM-051, which requires front-of-package (FOP) warning labels for excessive nutrients like trans fats, sugars, and sodium.
  • Milligram Reporting Requirement: The new mandate requires trans fats to be quantified in milligrams on food labels, enhancing consumer awareness and aiding in making healthier dietary choices.
  • Steps for Compliance:
    • Assessing Trans Fat Content: Involves ingredient analysis, analytical testing, and applying calculation methods to determine trans fat levels.
    • Updating Labels: Steps include design changes to include trans fat content, ensuring readability and placement, and a regulatory review to confirm compliance.
  • Technology for Compliance: Tools like Food Label Maker streamline the transition to new labeling requirements by automating updates, ensuring accuracy, and facilitating compliance, thus preventing potential non-compliance penalties.

Who Is Affected?

This new labeling rule for trans fat affects and applies to many businesses within Mexico’s food and beverage sector. The businesses that need to implement these rules include those that manufacture, package, and distribute products that may contain trans fats. Whether these businesses operate locally or export products internationally, they must now check their labels and make sure that they accurately reflect the trans fat content in a way that is clear and compliant with these new regulations.

Local businesses need to revise their current labeling practices to meet the new standards, which could even mean that they need to reformulate products to reduce or eliminate trans fats that were once contained in them. This is important because it promotes healthier choices for consumers and improves the standard of products that are available in the market.

Businesses exporting products internationally, either to or from Mexico, will also need to change their products under these changes. If businesses don’t follow these market changes, it could mean that there are barriers to entry, import bans, or even recalls, which could impact businesses financially and reputationally.

These updates to the labeling regulations are designed to phase out industrially produced trans fats by 2023. Mexico is aiming to align with World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines and global objectives that combat diet-related diseases and health issues. 

Understanding the New Trans Fat Labeling Regulations

As we stated, in March 2023, the Ministry of Health and the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks (COFEPRIS), implemented “Article 216” to Mexico’s General Health Law. It declares that industrially-produced trans fatty acids (iTFAs) will be regulated when used in food processing and that the content of fatty acids must not exceed 2% of a product’s total nutritional value. This new rule aims to reduce the presence of trans fats in food and beverages, as consuming too much of this nutrient could lead to health issues such as heart attacks or diabetes. 

Mexico has also released a range of updates relating to nutrition labeling regulations that need to be implemented by 2025 and follow the rules the Official Mexican Standard (NOM) has set. These phases are split into three parts so that businesses have time to implement each new regulation accordingly and effectively. The NOM-051 standard applies to the first phase, and relates to trans fats in particular. It states that if there are excess amounts of sugars, sodium, and fats in a food product, the product needs to have a front-of-package (FOP) warning label to indicate the presence of this excess. The warning label for trans fats is a black octagon shape with the words “Exceso grasas trans” written inside it in a contrasting white colour. 

The latest amendment to Mexico’s food labeling regulations also introduces a precise requirement that trans fats must now be quantified in milligrams on food labels. This stems from a legislative push to improve public health transparency and allow consumers to make better-informed dietary choices. 

The Shift to Milligram Reporting: What It Means

Reporting trans fats in milligrams gives consumers a clear, precise measure of how much of these unhealthy fats they are ingesting per serving of food. This level of detail helps individuals minimize their trans fat intake as much as possible. This precision also ensures consistency and comparability across products, aiding consumers in making healthier choices more easily.

This shift to milligram reporting impacts both manufacturers and consumers. For food producers, it forces them to revisit their product formulations to possibly reduce the amount of trans fat content, as consumer preference and purchasing behaviors influence their whole product line. For consumers, they are more aware of the trans fat amount in food products which lets them make a more informed decision when it comes to whether or not they want to buy the product. This is important and helpful for consumers who have dietary restrictions or chronic health conditions.

All of these changes aim to encourage healthier food choices. It also strives to make public health considerations more of an operational norm in the food industry.

Step-by-Step Compliance Guide

Assessing Trans Fat Content

To accurately assess and calculate the trans fat content of your products, follow these guidelines:

  1. Ingredient Analysis: Start by reviewing the specifications provided by suppliers for each ingredient. Look for details on fat composition, specifically taking note of any trans fat content.
  2. Analytical Testing: For the most accurate results, consider conducting analytical testing through accredited laboratories. This will provide precise measurements of trans fats present in your products.
  3. Calculation Methods: Use recognized calculation methods to determine the total trans fat content in your final product based on ingredient composition and processing factors that may affect fat levels.

Updating Your Labels

Once you have determined the trans fat content, follow these steps to update your labels:

  1. Design Changes: Adjust your label design to include a specific section for trans fat content, clearly marked in milligrams.
  2. Font and Placement: Ensure that the trans fat information is easily readable, usually written in Ariel font, and consistent with other nutritional information on the label. The placement is usually on the front right of a package but should just be straightforward for consumers to find.
  3. Regulatory Review: Before finalizing the new labels, have them reviewed for compliance with the latest regulations to ensure all required information is correctly displayed and the labels meet all legal standards.

Leveraging Technology for Compliance

Using tools on platforms like Food Label Maker can significantly ease the transition to new labeling requirements, particularly in calculating and displaying trans fat content in milligrams.

Here are some of the benefits of using Food Label Maker:

  • Accuracy: Food Label Maker’s software uses updated databases and formulas to calculate precise nutrient content, ensuring that your trans fat measurements are accurate and comply with regulatory standards.
  • Efficiency: Automate the label design process to save time. With templates and automated calculations, updating labels becomes a quicker, more streamlined process.
  • Compliance: The software is designed to stay current with regulatory changes. It ensures that your labels meet all new legal requirements, reducing the risk of non-compliance penalties.
  • Scalability: Easily update labels across multiple products simultaneously, ensuring consistency across your product range and reducing manual errors.

By using technology like that offered by Food Label Maker in your labeling strategy, you not only meet the regulatory updates but also enhance the accuracy and reliability of your product information. This follows the greater push towards reflecting nutrition information in such a way that it allows consumers to make healthier choices.