Our Certification Process
Applications will only be accepted from companies in the United States, US territories, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand but the Certified Vegan Logo trademark is distributed and recognized worldwide.
Companies that carry the Certified Vegan Logo certification trademark , hereinafter referred to as the “Certification Mark” on their products guarantee that each product is vegan, containing no animal ingredients or animal by-products, using no animal ingredient or by-product in the manufacturing process, and not being tested on animals.
Documentation on each ingredient must be provided to show it is both not animal derived and not tested on animals since the year 2000. This form may be submitted to ingredient distributors.
Please note that Vegan Action can only certify individual products. We DO NOT certify: whole companies, manufacturers, distributors, kitchens, restaurants, food trucks, people, farms, organizations, websites or products that contain human-derived ingredients.
We do not permit The Certified Vegan Logo to be used on products sold to or distributed to China if animal testing is required.
We do approve multiple brands for a single parent company however, our policy for Vegan Certification requires an application, agreement, and licensing fee for each brand under a parent company.
In addition, products must be sold in or with packaging to qualify for Vegan Certification.
Certification Qualifying Criteria
- Testing on animals after the year 2000 on individual ingredients or on final product will not be accepted. The definition of ‘no-animal testing’ is defined as no use of animals (live or deceased) for any type of research purposes whatsoever to include feed or nutrition trials, toxicity testing, or animal tests or trials "as required by law" and not being tested by another company or independent contractor.
- No type of animal testing, including animal food trials or clinical trials, where animals are “not mistreated, hurt, or killed” will be accepted.
- Culture medium must be of non-animal origin and documentation is required.
- We do not allow dairy starters.
- We do not allow any human or non-human animal strains.
- We do not require documentation on fertilizers used to grow plants.
- We do not require documentation on the harvesting of plant ingredients (ex. Palm oil, cocoa, etc).
- No animal genes are allowed but non-animal GMOs are permitted.
- We will certify fruits and vegetables only if they are in some type of packaging.
- We will not certify a product that the sole purpose is to kill in the animal kingdom (ex. Not an insecticide but an insect repellent is acceptable).
- We will not certify a product that the sole or primary ingredient is the remains of an animal such as clam or oyster shells, diatomaceous earth particles, etc. However, we do allow diatomaceous earth as an ingredient in toothpaste, cleaning products, and as a filtering agent.
- If sugar is an ingredient, documentation from the sugar manufacturer showing it is not being filtered with bone char must be provided. If a liquid sweetener is an ingredient, in addition to no bone char documentation, we will also need documentation showing that no animal by-products are used for clarifying or defoaming.
- If main product or an ingredient is beer, wine, vinegar, or fruit juice, a statement showing that no animal by-products are used as a clarifying agent is required.
- We determine the No Animal Testing applicability by brand, not by company or parent company.
Certification Mark Process and Policies
Steps in the Certification Process:
Company submits complete certification application for review by fax, email or mail with the complete list of products and their ingredients and processing to Vegan Awareness Foundation/Vegan Action. Information regarding shared machinery (if applicable) must also be submitted. Products containing sugar need to include verification from the sugar supplier that the sugar is not filtered through bone char.
We are happy to sign a NDA (non-disclosure agreement) by request.
Upon receipt, the application will be reviewed and any queries or additional paperwork requests will be forwarded to the company.
Products will be reviewed, which may involve contact with the suppliers and manufacturers. This process may take several weeks depending on the number of products submitted for review and the number of ingredients or processes.
After thorough review of the products, Vegan Action will reject the application or approve use of the Certification Mark for a 12 month period.
Licensing fee is assessed by the company’s total annual revenue from the previous year and is due at time of the certification.
Vegan Action will email an agreement for the company representative to review, sign and return.
Upon receiving the signed agreement and annual licensing fee payment, Vegan Action will return the signed agreement as well as a certificate approving use of the Certified Vegan Logo certification mark for the approved products (not for the company). Additional products can be submitted for review anytime during the 12 month period at no extra charge.
Vegan Action will issue Certification Mark artwork in a .gif, .tif, .jpeg and .eps format. The Certification Mark may not be altered in any way. The Certification Mark may not be used to represent a company, it represents individual products. A violation of these regulations will result in an immediate request to fix the error. If the Certification Mark is not correctly presented within twenty-one (21) days, Vegan Action will terminate the use of the Certification Mark. Products incorrectly marked with the Certification Mark will be listed on the Vegan Action website "Certification Alerts" to consumers.
Company gives Vegan Action permission to list the company on our website, www.vegan.org. Additionally, certified products may be promoted through our printed materials, online posts, recipes, articles, tabling events, giveaways and social media feeds. If product samples are submitted, Vegan Action staff may consider them for inclusion in articles on our website and social media feeds.
After a 12-month period, the company and approved list of products will be reviewed and a company representative will be required to sign an updated agreement and submit the annual licensing fee to continue using the Certification Mark for another 12-month period.
Companies are required to immediately notify Vegan Awareness Foundation/Vegan Action in writing when ingredients in any products bearing the Certification Mark change and submit new ingredient lists for verification and approval.
Companies must immediately notify Vegan Action in writing if their company is going out of business, has changed addresses or website address, or is being purchased by another company (use of the Certification Mark on products DOES NOT automatically carry over if the business is purchased or transferred).
Guidelines for Use of the Certification Mark in Print
Companies with a signed Agreement within the past year and have been granted permission to use the Certification Mark:
General Guidelines and Restrictions:
• The Certification Mark may not be displayed to represent a company or website, it may only represent the individual products that have been approved for use of the Certification Mark . Companies using the Certification Mark pursuant to these guidelines must also display in the primary and more prominent position, their own logo(s), business name, product names, or other branding.
• The Certification Mark may be printed and distributed globally.
• The Certification Mark may not be imitated or used as a design feature in any manner.
• The Certification Mark may not be used in a manner that would disparage Vegan Action or our programs.
• Neither the Certification Mark nor the Vegan Action name may be used by any other company name, product name, service name, domain name, website title, publication title, or the like without written permission.
Use only the approved graphics provided by Vegan Action:
• The Certification Mark must be used as provided by Vegan Action with no changes, including but not limited to proportion, or design, or removal of any words or artwork. The Certification Mark may not be animated, morphed, or otherwise distorted in perspective or appearance.
• The symbol may not be separated from the logotype. The words “Certified Vegan” and “vegan.org” must be included in the Certification Mark and may not be removed.
• The Certification Mark is not accompanied by the registered trademark symbol (®) although it is a registered certification trademark.
Certification Mark Placement:
• The Certification Mark may be printed on packaging of Approved Products, advertisements and websites as long as it is clear that the business is not being promoted by Vegan Action nor that all of the business’ products are Certified Vegan (unless indeed all products produced by said company are Certified Vegan). Only the Approved Products can be indicated as Certified Vegan.
• The Certification Mark may be placed anywhere on the product packaging. There are no specific guidelines for Certification Mark location on individual packaging.
Certification Mark Size:
• The Certification Mark may be sized as needed on the product packaging. There are no specific guidelines for Certification Mark size on individual packaging or websites.
Certification Mark Color:
• The Certification Mark may be colored as needed on the product packaging as long as the symbol and words/logotype are visible. There are no specific guidelines for Certification Mark color on individual packaging.
A violation of these regulations will result in an immediate request to fix the error. If the Certification Mark is not correctly presented within twenty-one (21) days, Vegan Action will terminate the use of the Certification Mark.
The Certification Mark is the property of the Vegan Awareness Foundation/Vegan Action and may be revoked under the following circumstance:
Failure to conform in any way to the certification agreement.
Non-payment of the licensing fee.
Misuse of Certification Mark on products not certified vegan. If at any time a Certified Product fails in more than an immaterial degree to conform to the standards and specifications that were the bases for the Certification, Licensee will immediately cease all use of the Certification Mark on its undistributed Certified Product units and immediately destroy all nonconforming materials in their possession containing the Certification Mark if Vegan Action requests that they do so. Licensee shall also immediately notify all distributors, advertisers, and customers who may have noncompliant Certified Product units and advertising therefor bearing the Certification Mark. Licensee shall require all sublicensees to immediately destroy all nonconforming materials in their possession containing the Certification Mark if Vegan Action requests that they do so.
The Vegan Awareness Foundation reserves the right to assess a penalty fee to any company that is found in violation of the merchant agreement by misuse of the Certification Mark or by providing false or misleading information regarding ingredients and processing of product. Vegan Action’s services and the rights of the Certification Mark are unique in character and value such that the loss thereof could not be reasonably compensable in damages in an action at law.
Vegan Action does not permit companies to use language that implies that we recommend a product- “Certified (Vegan) by Vegan Action” is acceptable wording.
Please contact us if you have questions regarding any of the above statement.