American Pecans Certified with American Heart Association’s “Heart-Check Mark”


February is American Heart Month, which supports the priority of heart health and research and encourages healthier lifestyles in American consumers. In this article, we’ll share information on the American Heart Association (AHA), its Heart-Check mark, and how you can utilize the symbol.


Heart-Check Mark Certification

The AHA’s Heart-Check Mark Certification program began in 1995, and since then, the Heart-Check mark has become an iconic symbol. Designed for easy and widespread recognition on packaging, the check mark helps buyers identify heart-healthy food options when making purchase decisions. The Heart-Check mark assures consumers that the certified foods meet the stringent nutritional standards and program requirements set by the American Heart Association. Before certifying any food, the AHA evaluates it against nutrition requirements established by science and research regarding dietary guidance and nutritional values so consumers can know they are making a smart and healthy choice. According to the AHA, certified products have 92% brand awareness among consumers, making the AHA a household name. Additionally, three out of four consumers say they are more likely to purchase foods that feature the Heart-Check mark, regardless of age or kids in household.

This is all great news for the pecan industry because the AHA certifies American Pecans as a heart-healthy food!

American Pecans (raw, no flavorings) have been certified by the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check, and the American Pecan Council carries a Trade Association license for these pecans.

As an APC member, you receive discount trade association member pricing under APC’s master license. American pecan growers, processors, shellers, accumulators and retailers can receive a discount on the certification fee for the American Heart Association Food Certification Program under the American Pecan Council master license.

There are many benefits to obtaining Heart-Check certification, including added credibility for your brand and assistance in connecting with health-conscious consumers. In order to use APC’s Heart-Check certification in your marketing materials or packaging, you must obtain certification for your specific raw American Pecans product.

Once you obtain AHA Heart-Check certification, you can use the Heart-Check certification on all your marketing and promotions for raw American Pecans for one year, as long as you follow the American Heart Association’s branding guidelines (i.e. you cannot include the Heart-Check mark on any materials that say “The Original Supernut” or “Supernut”) and submit the material to the AHA for review and approval.

The American Heart Association certifies American Pecans as a heart-healthy food (photo courtesy American Pecan Council.)


Obtaining Certification

To obtain AHA Heart-Check certification and use on product packaging:

Identify your Heart-Check certification cost, which is determined by your company’s sales revenue. The certification cost is for one year and must be renewed each year to continue using the Heart-Check mark.
Contact Xochilt Rios Mejia at the American Heart Association. She will guide you through the process to submit your product nutritionals and packaging for review and help you obtain a certification (contact at 214-706-1274 or

Once you receive the Heart-Check certification, you will be able to use it for one year on your raw American Pecans product packaging. If you change your packaging, you must re-submit it for approval before adding the Heart-Check mark.

To use the Heart-Check mark on marketing/promotional materials:

Secure Heart-Check certification per previous steps.

Prepare materials within the AHA Brand User Guidelines.

Fill out the Promotion Review Form.

Send an email to and include the Promotion Review Form and the materials for review (website link, advertisement, brochure, etc.)

Please allow 12 business days for each review. While some pieces may take less time, national pieces require further review by the American Heart Association’s Special Review Committee, which will extend the time needed for the review.


To obtain AHA Heart-Check certification for a different pecan product (e.g., candied pecans, salted pecans, pecan snack mix, etc.):

Product must meet nutrition requirements, and you must obtain your own Full Standard License. Pricing is based on your company’s sales revenue and tier level based on number of licenses. Pricing may run from $3,000 to $6,000 annually for each different product in tier 1.

Contact Xochilt Rios Mejia at American Heart Association. She will guide you through the process to submit your product nutritionals and packaging for review and help you obtain a certification (contact information provided above).

Nutrition is a main priority for consumers when making purchase decisions for themselves and their families. We continue to get the message out about the many health benefits of eating pecans and hope you too take advantage of American Pecans’ AHA Heart-Check mark certification for your individual business!

For more information, please visit



1Nielsen Brand Tracker. 2014

2Healthy Living rewards Concept Test Report. May 2016

In order to use APC’s Heart-Check certification in marketing materials or packaging, handlers must obtain certification for their specific raw American Pecans product (photo courtesy