How can I tell if a quality label is reliable?

A quality label is more reliable if it is issued by a specially accredited testing and certifying authority. A quality label can be trusted if the product or service meets the requirements applying to the label. Manufacturers may only apply a quality label to their products with the permission of the label’s owner.

Hallmark of quality labels

A quality label is a logo on a product by which the manufacturer guarantees a certain quality, such as the EKO label on organic food, or the CBF label for charities.

Requirements for quality labels

If a manufacturer wants to apply a quality label to their product, they must seek the permission of the label owner. This might be a person or an organisation (a legal person). The label owner checks whether the product meets the necessary requirements.

The label owner may commission an organisation that issues labels, such as an accredited certifying authority, to perform the tests. The product will still have to meet the same requirements.

Quality labels for services

There are also quality labels for services, such as transport or health care. They include quality labels for removal companies and fitters.

Accreditation: testing quality labels

In principle, anyone may issue certificates and quality marks. But they inspire more confidence if they are issued by a specialised certifying authority (CI). These authorities may be accredited. In other words, they have been assessed to see whether they meet certain requirements. Accreditation is a sign of impartiality and expertise. 

The Dutch Accreditation Council has compiled a list of accredited certifying authorities.

Difference between a quality label and a certificate

Quality labels and certificates both indicate that a product or service meets certain requirements. Quality labels take the form of a logo, while certificates are written documents.