(Frequently Asked Questions)

What are the fees?

AVA Membership Fee is $250.00 which includes ONE product. Additional products, 'line extensions' are $75.00 each, with quantity discounts available. 'Line Extensions' are products emanating from the original submitted product, such as; 'Original Potato Chips'; line extensions would be; Garlic Potato Chips, Sea Salt & Onion, Jalapeno...for example.

Is this annual?

Yes, all certifications are renewable annually.

Are there discounts for many products?

Yes, quantity discounts are offered. Please contact your AVA representative for discount scale.

How long does it usually take to certify products?

The AVA Compliance and Evaluation Review generally takes about 5-7 business days from the time the application is completed, payment arrangements are made, and samples are received. You may request an expedited review, if necessary. Any questions that may arise, an AVA Review Team Member may contact you.

What if my product is not up to AVA standards?

In the event your product(s) are not deemed AVA 'Certifiable' for any reason whatsoever, your fee is fully refunded.

Does the FDA get involved with 'Vegetarian' or 'Vegan' rulings?

No, the FDA has no strict rulings regarding 'Vegetarian' or 'Vegan', other than standard guidelines and restrictions in place, such as 'truth in labeling'.

There have been infinite definitions of the terms 'Vegetarian' and 'Vegan'. How does the AVA position itself as '....the recognized standard....."

The AVA was basically formed as a result of the FDA not having strict rulings, and due to the myriad of definitions surfacing from varying sources. The AVA conducted in-depth research as to the majority of widely accepted definitions generally agreed upon by the most respected vegetarian and vegan organizations worldwide. The AVA continues to collect data from these organizations as varying ingredients and products are submitted to us for certification.

If there is an ingredient that may be questionable for AVA Certification, what process does the AVA use to determine its eligibility?

The AVA will submit the item in question to several of our respected resources, and most often accepts the results of the majority response. If the response cannot be fully supported, or remains even slightly questionable, the AVA will not certify that item.

Why do your request samples?

The AVA requests samples of products to be certified as a segment of our review process requiring 'due diligence'. We need to see the product; confirm the product conforms to the ingredient claim, appearance, taste (when applicable), texture and overall attributes. The AVA fields random inquiries from consumers regarding AVA product certification, and often refers to this product research in responding.

Why do you not accept animal testing?

'No animal testing' is a self-imposed restriction that has been an uncompromised integral part of our AVA policy since our inception in 1999. This is an example of one of those infinite 'varying' definitions of vegetarian and vegan. The true definitions are basically 'plant-based' ingredients, or by-products where the animal is not harmed, eggs or milk, for example. We conducted a survey of vegetarians and veg'-friendly consumers, and a very high percentage were totally against animal testing. Therefore, we agreed that no animal testing was in the very best interests of the AVA and the consumer base we serve.

How can I best use my AVA Certified logo and AVA official certificate?

The AVA 'CERTIFIED' logo is very effectively used in marketing, sales promotions, advertising, labels, packaging, PR releases, social media, web site, POS, signage, menus, all printed materials, etc., basically wherever the coveted AVA logo is most advantageous for your business. The framed, sealed, AVA 'CERTIFIED' official certificate is most often prominently displayed in restaurants, corporate offices, retail stores, trade shows, advertising, etc. The AVA encourages maximum usage of your well-earned AVA Certification.

Can I make copies of the Certificate?

The certificate may be reproduced to utilize in mailers, sales calls, or hand-outs at trade shows and events.

Does the AVA certify products only for large companies?

The AVA certifies products for all size companies and businesses, ranging from major global corporations, to smaller local operations. The AVA focuses on certifying ethical, compliant ingredients, and serving the vegetarian consumer base and the companies that fulfill their needs.

Please explain the different AVA Certifications, and why 'Recommended'?

AVA CERTIFIED VEGETARIAN: May have animal-sourced ingredients where the animal is neither harmed nor killed; honey, eggs, milk, lanolin, for example. AVA CERTIFIED VEGAN: May only have plant-based ingredients. AVA RECOMMENDED: Effectively utilized for restaurants, cook books, kitchenware, utensils, etc., where a respected third-party endorsement may be used as a very potent strategic marketing tool.

Can I use my AVA Certification on other brands or co-pack labels?

Yes, your AVA Certified products may be used for infinite other brands or co-pack labels at no additional fee. The original ingredients, as AVA Certified, must be strictly adhered to, and not altered, adjusted, or compromised in any manner. We request that you submit the names of any and all brands of the AVA certified products to be co-packed, prior to roll-out.

What are the restrictions for AVA logo usage?

Your AVA logo may be used at your discretion in the most advantageous manner to benefit your business. The integrity of the logo design itself may not be changed in any way, shape, or form. The graphics, artwork, fonts, verbiage, must remain fully intact. You MAY alter the size and/or colors as you wish.

What are the restrictions for AVA Certificate usage?

Rules of AVA Certificate usage are identical to the AVA logo guidelines, noted above. Your official AVA Certificate may be reproduced as needed, following these guidelines.

Does the AVA only certify products in the U.S.?

AVA 'CERTIFIED' products are currently marketed in over thirty-five countries.

Does the AVA only certify food products?

The AVA certifies a huge variety of foods, health and beauty aids, vitamins, supplements, restaurants, skin care, tonics, lotions, creams, cosmetics, raw materials/ingredients, pharmaceuticals; products that are compliant, and serve the vegetarian/vegan community.

Has the AVA ever had any issues or challenges with any product they certified?

The AVA has never lost a certification challenge since its inception in 1999. We are often contacted by consumers and interested companies as to how we 'arrive' at our definitions. The FDA does not list products, and therefore we position the AVA as 'The recognized standard of vegetarian assurance'. This slogan defines the AVA, we take if very seriously, and tenaciously stand by its meaning with the greatest integrity.

Does the AVA Certify most products that companies apply for?

The AVA declines approximately fifteen-percent of product applications. These reasons vary widely, but unacceptable as simply non-compliant according to our strict AVA standards. The AVA fee is refunded for any product that is deemed non-certifiable.

Have many companies left the AVA certification program?

The AVA has a very low attrition rate. Fewer than three-percent have left the AVA Certification program. Of the members that have left, the primary reasons has been; 1) gone out of business 2) discontinued the AVA Certified product The AVA is extremely proud of our member-focused philosophy, and serving the veg'-friendly consumer. Eggland's Best Eggs just celebrated their twelfth year of AVA Certification!!

I see you use the word 'uncompromising'. How does that apply to AVA certification?

This means the AVA 'without compromise' adheres to its strict standards. Where a question may arise, the AVA 'errs on the side of caution'. We will never certify a product that is not deemed fully compliant by our highly professional AVA Review Team.

Why should I use the AVA to certify my products?

Kindly review the FAQ's listed above. The AVA is the trusted resource in vegetarian/vegan certification. The AVA has substantially increased its membership and volume of AVA Certified products since our inception, 1999. The AVA has many outstanding, high-profile international companies that rely on the AVA Certification program to support consumer trust and transparency. The AVA Member companies have proven themselves to be of high integrity, and ethically aligned in maintaining their well-earned, coveted AVA Certification status. AVA Certification offers tremendous support to broadcast and enhance this message of commitment to the highest of product standards.