How a Food Becomes Heart-Check Certified

Updated:Oct 18,2016

When you see the Heart-Check mark on a food product, you know it has been put through a robust certification process:

STEP 1: Company approved to Participate in the Heart Check mark Program

The American Heart Association must approve the company for participation, and companies must formally agree to all policies of the Heart-Check program.

STEP 2: Product Submitted and Reviewed for Heart-Check Certification

A product's nutrition profile must meet Heart-Check nutrition criteria and regulatory requirements for making coronary heart disease claims.

STEP 3: Product Package and Promotions Review and Approval Process

All use of the Heart-Check mark on product packaging and promotional and advertising materials must be pre-approved.

STEP 4: Certification Renewal

Companies are contractually obligated to keep their products compliant and renew certification on a regular basis as scheduled.

Qualifying for the Heart-Check mark requires foods to meet clear-cut standards:

Products must meet nutrition requirements that are based on science recommendations from American Heart Association statements. Additionally, products must comply with FDA and/or USDA regulations for making a coronary heart disease claim.

The Heart-Check program complies with five coronary heart disease health claims in six food categories.

Heart-Check Food Categories and Health Claims

Includes a wide assortment of foods, such as fresh, canned and frozen vegetables; soups; juices; liquid egg products; milk and yogurt products; and grain-based products.

Health claim: Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Trans Fat and Reduced Risk of Heart Disease health claim (Docket No. 2006Q-0458)

Heart-Check program nutrition experts and registered dietitians developed realistic, science-based program nutrition requirements. For example, current food technology and food science capabilities were taken into consideration. Additionally, great care was taken to develop criteria that encourage consumption of foods and nutrients of public health concern. The goal is to make it easy for consumers to follow a heart-healthy diet. When a product is close to the limit for total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and/or sodium, one of the quality assurance measures employed by the Heart-Check program is analytical lab testing to verify the compliance with the Heart-Check nutrition requirements.