What is the Certified Vegan Logo?
The Certified Vegan Logo is a registered trademark, similar in nature to the kosher mark, for products that do not contain animal products or byproducts and that have not been tested on animals. The certified logo is easily visible to consumers interested in vegan products and helps vegans to shop without constantly consulting ingredient lists. It also helps companies recognize a growing vegan market, as well as bringing the word Vegan—and the lifestyle it represents—into the mainstream. (Please keep in mind, however, that the logo is not yet on every vegan product.) The Certified Vegan Logo is currently on thousands of products manufactured by over 1000 companies.
The Certified Vegan Logo is administered by the Vegan Awareness Foundation (official name of Vegan Action), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public about veganism and assisting vegan-friendly businesses.
Dietary Notes: By ingredients, Certified Vegan products are dairy-free/non-dairy, egg-free, and vegan. However, for those with food allergies, please check with the company on their manufacturing processes for all varieties if potential allergen cross-contamination is an issue for you. Many companies that make vegan products are using shared machinery.
NOTE: The Certified Vegan Logo is permitted on products owned by companies located in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and US territories but is distributed and recognized worldwide.
“It’s relieving to see the logo! It means I don’t have to study the ingredients! Thank you!”
“Extremely [helpful]! Always looks for [the Certified Vegan logo] and when it’s not there I know to do some investigating.”
“I’m beyond grateful!”
“[The Certified Vegan Logo is] so helpful! It’s my fave.”
“I don’t have to read through all the ingredients!”
“[The Certified Vegan logo] is the first thing I look for.”
Certified Vegan Standards
In order for a product to be approved for Vegan Certification it must not contain meat, fish, fowl, animal by-products, eggs or egg products, milk or milk products, honey or honey bee products, insects or products from insects such as silk or dyes, or sugar filtered with bone char.
Products may not contain or be sourced from leather, fur, silk, feathers, down, bone, horn, shell, wool, cashmere, shearling, angora, animal skin, suede, or mohair.
Sweeteners may not be filtered or processed with bone char.
Liquids such as beer, wine, maple syrup, and fruit juices may not be filtered, defoamed, or clarified with animal products.
Products must not have involved animal testing of ingredients or finished products by the supplier, producer, manufacturer, or independent party and may not be tested in the future.
Products may not contain any animal-derived GMO's or animal-derived genes used to manufacture ingredients or finished product.
In addition,companies must submit and have approved by the Vegan Awareness Foundation that acceptable steps are taken to thoroughly clean and sanitize all surfaces, vessels, utensils, and machinery used between vegan and non-vegan production cycles to minimize cross-contamination if shared machinery is used.
No Animal Products
Products approved to carry the Certified Vegan logo must not contain ingredients of meat, fish, fowl, animal by-products (including silk or dyes from insects), eggs or egg products, milk or milk products, honey or honey bee products, or be clarified or finished with any animal products.
No Animal Testing
Products must involve no animal testing of ingredients or finished product by supplier, producer, manufacturer or independent party
No Animal GMO's
Products must contain no known animal-derived GMOs or genes used to manufacture ingredients or finished products
Products must provide supplier verification that animal products were not used in the manufacturing of ingredients
How much does it cost to certify products?
There is a $100 non-refundable application fee to apply. If approved and finalized, this fee will be applied to your first annual licensing fee payment.
We ask for an annual licensing fee of each company (not for each product) for use of the trademarked “Certified Vegan” logo. The licensing fee is assessed by the company’s annual revenue (not based on the vegan product or brand) and is due before permission is granted to use the “Certified Vegan” logo.
The licensing fee helps support the Vegan Certification program and promotes vegan products worldwide!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do you charge money for the certification?
Licensing fees help fund the certification program, protect the legitimacy and proper use of the trademark, and assure that the certification program will continue in the future. We charge an annual licensing fee (for an unlimited number of products/skus) based on the company's annual revenue from the previous fiscal year. The detailed fee band can be found on page 2 of the application.
What is the turn around time for certification?
It is different for every application dependent on the number of products being submitted and the number of ingredients per product. We cannot give an exact answer but we aim for 4-6 weeks (it may be 6-8 weeks for larger submissions). We politely ask that you do not inquire by phone or email as we will notify applicants of the turn around time once we have received the application.
Why do you accept products that are manufactured on shared machinery?
We do allow companies to use shared machinery (machinery that also runs products containing animal products/ingredients) in the production of their products, but most of those products carry a label that says so. Companies must provide documentation of the steps that are taken to thoroughly clean the machinery.
In addition, many vegan companies lease non-vegan kitchens and equipment from other companies to produce their products and many companies make vegan and non-vegan items on the same machines. It is extremely expensive for these small companies to purchase dedicated vegan machinery of their own. In fact, many vegan companies may not exist if they had to purchase their own equipment.
When we were starting the Vegan Certification Campaign we had to establish what was going to be considered vegan. Most products with vegan ingredients would not be considered vegan under the strictest standards because of some form of processing contamination. We decided that we would not exclude products that may possibly contain trace amounts of contamination. We consulted with other prominent vegan organizations and we all agree that vegan purity is more harmful than helpful.
Our motivation is working to end cruelty to animals and we don’t feel that avoiding trace amounts of animal products in vegan foods helps end animal suffering. It is far better for the animals that these vegan products exist. It is far better for people to realize that they have vegan options instead of nothing. If there were fewer vegan options how many people would become vegan?
We are working to end cruelty to animals by showing the non-vegan food industry that there is a market for vegan products. Once there are more vegan products available, more people will want to become vegan. As more people become vegan, more companies will make more vegan products and will be able to afford dedicated machinery. As it stands now, most people think veganism is too hard, restrictive, and expensive. When more vegan food is available it will be easier to find cheaper vegan options so people will find it easy and accessible to be vegan. Making veganism appeal to all is the only way veganism will grow and therefore cruelty to animals will lessen.
Do you accept products that contained refined sugar?
We do not allow sugar (or other sweeteners) that are refined through bone char to carry The Certified Vegan Logo. Any companies that use cane sugar, beet sugar, corn syrup, coconut sugar, date sugar, molasses, agave, maple syrup, or brown rice syrup in their products must send a statement from the sugar supplier that guarantees that they do not use animal products in the production of that sweetener.
How does Vegan Action define No Animal Testing?
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 since the year 2000 and will not be tested on animals in the future.
Are Certified Vegan Products "veganic" or confirmed to not be grown with animal by-products?
We do not take into account soil, fertilizer, or farming practices when reviewing documentation for Vegan Certification. If we were to account for animal by-products in outdoor soil and farming practices, then nothing would qualify as vegan. We base our Certified Vegan standards on ingredients, animal testing, and processes for individual ingredients and the final product. We started the Certified Vegan Campaign for ethical reasons (to reduce the greatest harm to animals and those are ones bred and raised for food) and to make it easier to become vegan and choose vegan products. We want to support companies making a genuine effort in making vegan products and we don't want it to be an impossible venture as that would not serve anyone.
We consider figs just as "vegan" as any other fruit. The wasp entering the fig to pollinate the flower is a natural process and is not due to human intervention. Not every female wasp gets trapped in the fig however, if she does, she is enzymatically digested. This would be no different than insects and earthworms decomposing in soil. There are unintentional insects in much of the food we eat and are often unavoidable in commercial products. We do permit figs in Certified Vegan products.
Is Palm Oil permitted in Certified Vegan Products?
We agree that the environmental degradation and animal suffering involved with most palm oil harvesting is devastating. However, because palm oil contains no animal products and is not tested on animals, these are the guidelines we use for Vegan Certification, and palm oil does qualify.
If we included how the environment and habitats were impacted, then almost nothing would qualify as ethically vegan. Growing and harvesting plant products, especially on a large scale, has immense environmental impacts and is the cause of many animal deaths. For example, harvesting potatoes kills tens of thousands of mice, voles, rabbits, and their habitats every year. Technically, there is no such thing as eating without harming anything but we all do the best we can.
By no means do we promote palm oil consumption and we do not promote any companies or their products; we share with the public the items that we have determined to be Certified Vegan.
Purchasing products that are vegan is one way of making better choices, but we can never be completely free of negative impacts as consumers. The good news is that there are many products in the market that are both vegan and free of palm oil to choose from.
I don’t think you should certify products that are not organic / contain petroleum products / contain hydrogenated oils / etc.
We understand and sympathize with these concerns. One of the goals of Vegan Action is to create growth in the vegan marketplace and increase the availability of vegan products.
We truly believe that purchasing power will have an impact on companies that use chemicals and animal products in their manufacturing. Let them know that you don’t want these chemicals to be used! When companies see that it is profitable to market environmentally and animal-friendly products- the market will boom with new products.
What are the Animal Testing Guidelines?
We recognize that just about everything, every ingredient, has been tested on animals at some point. However, we want to make sure we are not part of that continuing and therefore we do not allow any ingredients that have been tested on animals since the year 2000 to be permitted in Certified Vegan products.
What about Animal Testing that doesn't kill the animal?
We do not permit an ingredient or product that has been tested on any non-human animals in Certified Vegan products to include feed trials, skin tests, nutrition panels, etc. For that reason, for example, some pet foods have not qualified for Vegan Certification.
What about fertilizers, do you make sure animal products are not in fertilizers?
We do not request or require documentation on fertilizers that are used on food products that are Vegan Certified. In addition to that being impossible for most companies to even attain that information, we recognize that all natural soil has animal waste and animal detritus present.
What about natural insecticides, can those be Vegan Certified?
We do not offer Vegan Certification for a product who's sole purpose is to kill, even if it is fleas or ticks to protect our companion animals. However, we would offer Vegan Certification for a product where the purpose is to deter insects for example.
What about the Impossible Burger, could that be Vegan Certified?
While the Impossible Burger is completely free of animal products in ingredients, there is one ingredient that was recently tested on animals and therefore it would not qualify for Vegan Certification. We do not condone any kind of animal testing and, especially for a food product, however we recognize that this product is really popular with meat-eaters and has replaced many cow burgers being purchased over the last year.
How do I certify my company and vegan products?
Submit an application through our online form. NOTE: We do not certify companies, restaurants, food trucks, farms, or manufacturers – we certify individual products.
How do I market “Certified Vegan” products?
We appreciate a company’s commitment to producing vegan products. We will be happy to assist your company in promoting your certified products.
We also welcome samples and marketing information about nationally distributed vegan products for consideration on our website and social media feeds. Additionally, we can arrange for product samples to be distributed at the Richmond Vegetarian Festival. This annual event is one of the largest of its kind in the country, and boasts attendance in the 10,000 range.
Do you certify companies owned by parent companies and multinational corporations?
We do approve use of the Certified Vegan Logo to brands owned by large companies and corporations.
Our motivation is working to end cruelty to animals and the goal of our Vegan Certification program is to make more vegan foods available to end animal suffering and death. It is far better for the animals that these vegan products exist. It is even better for people to realize that they have vegan options instead of nothing. If there were fewer vegan options how many people would even become vegan?
We are working to end cruelty to animals by showing the non-vegan food industry that there is a market for vegan products. Once there are more vegan products available, more people will want to become vegan. As more people become vegan, more companies will make more vegan products and will drive the market in a positive direction. As it stands now, most people think veganism is too hard, restrictive, and expensive. When more vegan food is available it will be easier to find cheaper vegan options so people will find it easy and accessible to be vegan. Making veganism appeal to all is the only way veganism will grow and therefore cruelty to animals will lessen.
What are some Common Ingredients that may be animal-based and found in products?
Lanoilin, shellac, glycerine, caseinate, squalene, guanine, vitamin D, stearic acid, carmine, collagen, elastin, keratin, isinglass, castoreum, whey, gelatine, Hyaluronic acid, Chondroitin, enzymes, probiotics, omega-3s, etc. For a more detailed list, see this website for the A to Z listing.
Submit an application
Please fill out the online application and easily upload your documents. In addition, you must submit a $100 application fee. If approved and finalized, this fee will be applied to your first annual licensing fee payment.
Click on this link to make the application submission payment once you have submitted your application.
Submitting an application does not give the authorization to use The Certified Vegan Logo until the application is approved and permission is granted by The Vegan Awareness Foundation.
Unauthorized use of The Certified Vegan Logo is a violation of Federal Trademark laws. Altering The Certified Vegan Logo in any way is a violation of Federal Trademark laws.