Certified Free From, or CFF, is the first certification program of its kind. Providing third-party backed allergen-free assurance to both consumer packaged goods and kitchens, CFF is the answer food allergic consumers have been looking for. Keep reading to learn more about our program, and how CFF can help bring your product or kitchen to the next level of allergen awareness.

  • Why would someone want to add the CFF seal to their products or kitchens?

    CFF can support your brand’s sales by providing third-party validation of allergen-free claims made on your products or facility. While any brand can add an “allergen free” claim, CFF goes beyond substantiating claims – adding instant value to your product with a consumer-trusted seal. Based on a study conducted by FARE, 85 million Americans seek out products that are free from at least one of the Major 9 allergens. Adding a seal that holds as much credibility as CFF makes it a no-brainer for these consumers to seek out products and dining facilities that have achieved certification.

  • Why do brands and consumers trust the CFF seal?

    MenuTrinfo has been a leader in the food allergy space since 2010. After developing an award-winning database for nutritional analysis and allergen tracking, we released one of the first accredited food allergy training programs in the country.  CFF was soon to follow as another resource for food manufacturers and food service operators to build trust with the food allergic community. 

    MenuTrinfo is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) National Accreditation Board (ANAB) for meeting the rigorous International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 17065 standards for certifying bodies. Certified Free From meets all of the requirements for an approved scheme.

    In addition to ANAB, we have two more oversight groups that support CFF in providing the highest quality program to the consumers who rely on it.  Our Standards Committee oversees and approves any changes to our CFF standards, and an Impartiality Board advises and mitigates real or perceived threats to impartiality. That means that all clients who have the seal have truly earned it.

  • What value does the CFF seal add to my products or kitchen?

    According to independent market research conducted in 2021, 61% of consumers said they were more likely to purchase an allergen-free product that had the CFF seal on its package. With over $19 billion being spent each year on allergen-free foods, this could be a huge way to increase revenue and earn trust from a consumer base that is quick to share recommendations for safe products.

  • Are staff at CFF manufacturers and kitchens trained on allergens?

    Yes, the CFF standards require training for all staff upon hire, and regularly after that to maintain their knowledge on allergen food safety.

  • How does MenuTrinfo monitor certified products and facilities?

    CFF facilities are audited annually to ensure protocols are in place to prevent cross-contact and ensure the facility and/or products can be Certified Free From reports. Additionally, should there ever be an incident involving an allergen, our team is immediately notified to investigate.

  • What testing is required at CFF facilities?

    CFF facilities have always been required to conduct surface testing at regular intervals, unless exempted by our team due to extraordinary efforts on their part. The 6.0 standards, released in early 2024, introduced raw material and finished goods testing as well, depending on an individual facility’s operations and what other certifications are in place. The regularity of the testing is dependent on the nature of their operation, but typically is done once a month.

  • Are individual ingredients certified?

    CFF focuses on processes and finished products.  While individual ingredients within finished products may not be certified individually, the manufacturer or operator has stringent policies and controls to ensure they are only ordering vetted ingredients. Additional CFF standards require continuous monitoring of those ingredients to ensure any formulation or production changes do not introduce the possibility of cross-contact.

  • Are highly refined oils from allergen sources allowed in CFF products and kitchens?

    MenuTrinfo follows the FDA’s guidance on highly refined oils from allergenic ingredients. As long as the ingredient supplier can provide documentation that the product is completely free from protein residues, with testing to back it up, that ingredient can be used in a CFF product or facility.

  • What is MenuTrinfo’s stance on coconut?

    Botanically, coconuts are drupes and not tree nuts. They contain very few of the proteins found in tree nuts that can cause allergic reactions. However, the FDA does identify them as a tree nut. Given the relatively low prevalence of coconut allergies in the US, MenuTrinfo offers two versions of the CFF seal. One includes all FDA-defined tree nuts, including coconut. The other excludes coconut, with a clearly marked disclaimer. This allows for consumers to make the best choice for them based on their individual needs.

  • How do I get a copy of the CFF Scheme and Standards?

    Please email us at CFFsupport@MenuTrinfo.com to request the most current copy of the Certified Free From Scheme and Standards.

Kitchen Resources

The following downloadable documents will help better explain three of the biggest pieces of the Certified Free From audit: your policies and procedures, ingredient vetting process, and testing. Since some of these concepts can be new for a kitchen, opposed to a manufacturer who may be more accustomed to those requirements, these documents were designed with foodservice operations in mind.