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Seal the Difference with Blue Ridge Naturally™

Become part of a natural products network and reap the benefits!

What is it? Blue Ridge Naturally certified growers and manufacturers become part of a network that leads to discounts available via the North Carolina Natural Products Association. The NCNPA promotes the Blue Ridge Naturally program at a variety of events throughout the year, highlighting certified products at these events and in our newsletter; conducts outreach to retailers in the region and connects certified manufacturers to these retailers; and coordinates shared booths for regional events amongst certified companies. As an integral part of the program, participating growers and manufacturers are referred to others in the region which are critical to your supply chain. For consumers, they know the Blue Ridge Naturally certification is the highest quality assurance certification offered for raw materials and finished natural products in the Blue Ridge Naturally region.

The Blue Ridge Naturally™ brand and associated product quality seal are designed to bring international attention to Western North Carolina's emerging natural products industry by emphasizing the region's superior quality in a diverse range of botanical and fungal ingredients and in finished natural products.

If your WNC-based company grows botanical or fungal ingredients or makes qualifying natural products, you could earn the Blue Ridge Naturally™ seal. In addition to having a seal of exceptional quality, participating companies have access to targeted marketing opportunities and other valuable benefits. The North Carolina Natural Products Association administers Blue Ridge Naturally™. The eligibility criteria for obtaining the seal follow.

For raw ingredient producers:

Eligibility criteria:

·         No GMO, synthetic, or artificial inputs are used in your products.
Note: The BRN brand follows US Department of Agriculture National Organic Program (USDA NOP) guidelines for allowed inputs for agricultural products.

·         Wildharvested botanical ingredients are sustainably sourced. Companies provide suitable evidence of training and/or practices. Wildharvested materials are verified by BRN/NCNPA as originating from Southern Appalachia.

·         Cultivated botanical ingredients are either USDA NOP certified organic or grower is trained in Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) protocols.

·         All raw botanical ingredients have their taxonomic identity confirmed by BRN/NCNPA recognized third party verification with vouchers maintained or deposited at a BRN/NCNPA approved repository site for traceability.

·         Raw cultivated ingredients are grown in NC or the Blue Ridge Mountain chain (Southern Appalachia) and actively working with the NCNPA, regional manufacturers, or Natural Products Alliance partnership members(NCSU Alternative Crops & Organics Program, Blue Ridge Food Ventures, NC Bionetwork, Bent Creek Institute) to market their herbs to the industry in WNC.

Value-added producers (functional food/ beverages, supplements, body care, household, pet products):

  • The trade branded company either manufactures or is headquartered in the 23 counties of Western North Carolina and has completed BRN approved Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)  training.
  • All raw botanical ingredients in value-added finished products meet the above raw ingredients criteria or the producer has met BRN guidelines for improved sourcing of WNC ingredients. 
  • No items on the  Whole Foods Market and Skin Deep Unacceptable Ingredients lists for inactive ingredients are in BRN finished products.
  • No FDA GMP warning letters or other state or federal quality violations have occurred in the past year for the product(s) in question.

NEW PRODUCTS: Lifestyle Products:products that are complimentary to the natural products industry and relate to the LOHAS industry. Examples of such products include pet foods/supplements and craft beverages created with raw materials sourced from the region. Industry Relevant Products: may include formulated materials for use in products such as alcohol for tincturing or inputs for the production of raw materials such as seeds and soil amendments.

  • Any product consumed by pets/livestock must meet Check Plus Criteria unless it is a raw material that meets the criteria for growers and also meets criteria set by the USDA guidelines for organic feedstocks, supplements and other amendments.

  • Soil amendments must be certified organic or submit samples for testing for heavy metals and  pesticides/herbicides. “Note: The BRN brand follows US Department of Agriculture National Organic  Program (USDA NOP) guidelines for allowed inputs for agricultural products”.

Products meet the relevant criteria above and for any products ingested by humans submit products for testing as outlined below for the CHECK PLUS SEAL

CHECK PLUS BRN SEAL: No microbial*, metals, and pesticides toxicity per FDA or EPA limits, as verified at least every two years per product by a BRN-recognized third party testing laboratory. *(Testing for microbials varies as necessary based on product)

CHECK PLUS BRN SEAL: Potency and/or bio-marker claims, if any, are verified every two years by BRN-recognized third party testing.

Next steps…

To learn more about the benefits, eligibility criteria, pricing and application process for Blue Ridge Naturally™, please email seal@blueridgenaturally.org or call 708-BRG-SEAL and the BRN Brand Administrator will be in touch.

Blue Ridge Naturally™ Partners and Supporting Organizations:
North Carolina Natural Products Association AdvantageWest Blue Ridge Food Ventures BioNetwork Bent Creek Institute Small Business and Technology Development Center NC State Golden LEAF Foundation

© 2017 North Carolina Natural Products Association
"Blue Ridge Naturally" and the Blue Ridge Naturally Seal are registered trademarks of the North Carolina Natural Products Association