The process of certification for vegan foods and other household products is a bit of a murky water, but the all-encompassing common denominator is that it denotes those products which do not contain animal products or byproducts. This article will walk you through a few of the steps for how a product gets certified as vegan-friendly.
A vegan-friendly product must be certified by some governing body. This group will have standards with varying levels of stringency, and thus you should check each certifier to see which rubric they employ in their vetting process.
Typically, they will provide the company with a questionnaire which will ascertain if the vegan-friendly standards are being met. They will obtain information pertaining to the machinery the manufacturing company uses. They will review the products and the submitted documentation, and may audit the company’s suppliers. The length of this process will vary depending on how many entities are involved in the supply chain.
A certifying body will normally collect an application and/or licensing fee, which is required to be renewed either yearly or every two years to retain the certification, at which point the company will be audited and an updated agreement is submitted.
A product passes certification by fitting a few criteria: the first and foremost is that they must not contain any animal products. They can also not be processed with animal products, for example, white sugar would be disqualified because it is processed with bone char. Also, the product and any of its component ingredients should not have been tested on any animals or have exploited animals in any way during the creation of the product
A product must not contain any genetic augmentations or modifications deriving from the gene sequence of an animal.
Some certifiers will check to make sure that there has been no cross-contamination with any animal product. Some vegan food products will undergo more stringent certifications to ensure that they are also free of allergens, such as nuts.
It should be noted that the legality of labeling something as vegan-friendly is currently not enforced by any meaningful government regulation, which will require that you be vigilant about vetting foods carefully to avoid those companies who engage in misleading labeling practice.
If you are unsure of the legitimacy of a vegan-friendly product’s authenticity, your best recourse at this point is to check the standards of companies that use, and then look for the logos originating from those certifying bodies that you deem to be reputable and trustworthy.