Food ingredients, materials and components are controlled and validated for use based on proof of compliance. This proof is accomplished through evaluation, analysis, inspection and applicable forms of testing performed by or on behalf of the user, the vendor or both.

Certification Types

Certifications and certificates relate to many different aspects of a food, ingredient or additive. The commonality is that organizations and consumers are depending on each certification to be honest and accurate. Most importantly, certain certifications, when accurate and comprehensive, can function as life-saving instruments, such as a certificate that certifies an item as free from contaminants, adulterants, additives, listed allergens or components which may render an item unsuitable for use or ingestion.

Common certificates include:

  • allergen control certificates or declarations, describing the policies and processes used by the manufacturer to control contamination and cross-contamination
  • certificate of origin (country)
  • compendial grading certificates (i.e. USP grade, FCC grade, FEMA grade, GRAS etc.)
  • regulatory certification linking an ingredient or related item to the law or regulation under which it is defined, approved for use or controlled
  • Kosher certificates, certifying an item as having satisfied requirements for kosher labeling under the authority of the issuer.
  • Halal certificate, certifying an item as having satisfied Halal labeling criteria under the issuing authority.
  • Continuing food guarantee, a general statement of conditions under which the item was manufactured
  • Purity certification of a specific lot or batch of an ingredient or additive with details captured in
    • a lot-specific “certificate of analysis” (COA)
    • a broad “certificate of compliance” (COC) representing all lots shipped or
    • a written statement asserting that the goods shipped do contain desired or required components and/or do not contain specific unwanted, unsuitable or violative components.
  • Status certifications and declarations, stating the status or purity of the item from the perspective of the supplier or vendor. Status certificates include:
    • GMO status (contains, does not contain, not sure)
    • All-natural status (based on criteria determined by the vendor, supplier or customer, not by any regulatory agency)
    • Microbiological risk status and testing recommendations based on the interpretation of the vendor or supplier
    • FDA legal status, vendors statement of compliance with specific sections of 21CFR and limits, if any
    • Nutritional declaration or statement based on 100g sample
    • Critical component status (Proposition 65 and similar component status) declaration.
    • Vegetarian status (vegan, ovo-lacto or not able to certify)
  • Processing certifications
  • Microbiological Analysis Certificate based on risks and/or item identity standards
  • Other applicable certifications

Many critical aspects of declarations, certificates and other vendor disclosure forms must be evaluated, verified and validated as accurate and complete in order to protect customers and the consuming public from risks, dangers and inaccuracies. Each document must be reviewed for accuracy, content and format in order to be considered valid. EHA provides clients with expert guidance for requesting, creating, validating, reviewing and interpreting food status certifications and certificates.