Certified Plant Based

  • Overview
  • Benefits of Certification
  • Certification Process
  • Why Work With NSF?

The Certified Plant Based program defines plant-based food to make it easy for consumers to choose a finished product that consists of ingredients derived from plants including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds and/or legumes. Additionally, fungi and algae, although not technically plants, will also be counted toward the percentage of plant-based ingredients.

Products eligible for certification are meat, egg and dairy alternative products that do not contain any animal-derived ingredients. The eligible categories include:

  • Tofu and tempeh
  • Meat alternatives to beef, pork, chicken, fish, etc.
  • Milk alternatives such as cheese, yogurt, ice cream, novelty and frozen desserts, butter, dips, dressings, sour cream and other beverages and creamers
  • Egg substitutes and mayo
  • Meals with meat or dairy alternatives (including pizza)
  • Baked goods
  • Protein powders
  • Plant-based ingredients that are used as a primary ingredient
  • Additional product categories, as deemed acceptable by the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA), which owns the Certified Plant Based standard

Products excluded from this program include:

  • Products that are inherently plant based such as single ingredient vegetables, nuts, etc.
  • Products that contain any amount of animal-derived ingredient(s), including honey or casein
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco products
  • Dietary supplements
  • Pet food

Ingredients not of plant or animal origin are allowed for use in a Certified Plant Based product as long as individually or combined they do not exceed ten percent of the product formula (excluding water and salt). The following are ingredients approved under this section:

  • Flavors and colors
  • Leavening agents such as baking soda, potassium bicarbonate and sodium acid pyrophosphate
  • Acids such as citric, ascorbic, lactic and malic
  • Gums such as xanthan or gellan
  • Vitamins and minerals such as in enriched wheat flours
  • Mined minerals such as calcium carbonate and potassium chloride
  • Microorganisms such as probiotics and yeast
  • Enzymes
  • Proteins produced by biotechnology
  • Additional ingredients as approved by the PBFA

Benefits of Certification

The Certified Plant Based label makes it easy for consumers to choose sustainable alternatives to meat, egg and dairy products. Whether they’re flexitarian or doing Meatless Mondays for health, the environment or animal welfare, Certified Plant Based provides assurance that these products fit their dietary needs. The plant-based food category has experienced double-digit growth year over year with non-dairy milks expected to make up almost half the milk category in the next five years.

NSF International is the certifier for this program which is owned by the Plant Based Foods Association. If you are already certified with NSF International for another food standard, Certified Plant Based is an easy add-on to your current services.

Certification Process

1: Application

Submit complete application forms and supporting documents. The more complete your application, the faster the certification.

2: Review

NSF’s technical reviewers determine if your file is complete and your application undergoes a desk audit. If more information is needed, we will contact you.

3: Licensing Agreement

Receive authorization from PBFA to use the “Certified Plant Based” logo on product packaging and marketing materials. There is no licensing fee for PBFA members.

4: Certification

Congratulations! You will receive an official certificate and your product will be added to NSF’s listings.

Why Work With NSF?

NSF International is the certifier for the Certified Plant Based label. NSF International has over 70 years of food safety and integrity and we are the gold standard in quality assurance services. Certified Plant Based is a simple add-on desk-only audit for existing NSF customers and a straight-forward certification for companies new to NSF.

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