What does the Certified Free From™ (CFF) seal mean and stand for?

What is CFF of any or all of the 9 major allergens.

  • What does it mean to be Certified Free From?
    • Seeing the Certified Free From seal on a product or in a facility means that they have met our rigorous standards and have our backing. CFF is the only program in the country that checks from loading to dock to table top for the presence of and potential for cross-contact with the Major 9 allergens.
  • Why do consumers trust CFF?
    • 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. 
    • CFF 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.

Further Details:

  • What testing is required at CFF facilities?
    • CFF facilities are required to conduct surface testing at regular intervals, unless exempted by our team due to extraordinary efforts on their part. The regularity of the testing is dependent on the nature of their operation, but typically is done once a month.
    • Testing is monitored monthly, quarterly and annually by MenuTrinfo.
  • 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?
    • 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.