Why You Can Trust the Heart-Check Mark

man grocery shopping

There are many food labeling programs and health claims/icons on products in the grocery store. The Heart-Check mark has been guiding shoppers to healthier choices since 1995. Here are some of the hallmarks of a credible front-of-package food labeling program:

Trustworthy Organization

  • The American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest, largest voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
  • Consumer research shows that “the AHA is the authority most trusted by consumers to decide if a product may display a nutrition message or mark.”
  • Our mission drives everything we do: Building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Science-based Criteria

  • Heart-Check program criteria are based on American Heart Association scientific statements and recommendations.
  • Program nutrition requirements were developed in consultation with expert volunteers.

Validation of Criteria

  • A 2014 research study found that people who report eating foods that meet Heart-Check certification requirements are more likely to eat healthier and have fewer heart disease risk factors.

Transparent Criteria that Comply with Federal Labeling Regulations

  • Heart-Check Food Certification Program nutrition requirements are publicly available on our website.
  • All nutrition requirements comply with federal regulations for coronary heart disease health claims.

Strong Monitoring and Enforcement

  • Program staff validate that products’ Nutrition Facts label values meet Heart-Check nutrition requirements.
  • Lab tests are required when certain nutrient values approach certification limits.
  • Program staff conduct packaging and promotional reviews to ensure compliance with program requirements. 

Ease of Use

  • The Heart-Check mark is easy to spot and takes much of the guesswork out of reading Nutrition Facts and label information.
  • Bundled nutrition requirements take a wide variety of nutrients into account, including saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and beneficial nutrients.
  • Most certified products are available through national grocery chains.