A new Natural Products Manufacturing Facility will launch at Blue Ridge Food Ventures on Monday, Oct 18. The facility will allow entrepreneurs to produce, bottle, seal and label natural products, including medicinal herbs and dietary supplements, in capsules, tinctures, extracts and creams, while also meeting the new federal guidelines that went into effect in June of this year for businesses of 20 employees or fewer (the regulations were introduced in 2007 and phased-in over several years).
AdvantageWest and other project partners believe the initiative will help establish WNC as a leader in the natural products industry nationally, which will help attract new natural products businesses and investment, and support development of export opportunities for regional business. Further, this is believed to be the only shared-use facility of its type in the country and will tap the region’s rich biodiversity and agricultural traditions of harvesting and growing herbs and medicinal plants.
FACTS ABOUT THE FACILITY AND THE PROJECT
* A new Natural Products Manufacturing Facility will open Monday, Oct. 18, as a new division of Blue Ridge Food Ventures, AdvantageWest’s agribusiness incubator located at the Enka campus of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, just west of Asheville. A reception and tour will be held from 3-4 p.m., with a brief program and ceremonial start of production starting at 3:30 p.m.
* The 600-square-foot space will allow entrepreneurs to produce, bottle, seal and label natural products, including medicinal herbs and dietary supplements, in capsules, tinctures, extracts and creams. Natural products are safe, therapeutic products and services that use sustainably grown and harvested, premium-quality plant products.
* The facility complies with federal current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) guidelines, standards that meet Food and Drug Administration requirements for manufacturing, packaging, labeling and holding of dietary supplements. The standards aim to ensure that herbal products are acceptable for clinical trials and domestic sales. NOTE: The standards requiring these GMP guidelines were introduced in 2007 and phased-in beginning 2008 for businesses of 500+ full-time employees, and in 2009 for businesses of 20 to 499 employees. AS OF JUNE 25, 2010, BUSINESSES WITH 20 EMPLOYEES OR FEWER ARE REQUIRED TO FOLLOW THESE STANDARDS. EVEN A ONE-PERSON BUSINESS MUST USE AN FDA-COMPLIANT FACILITY (i.e., no more producing in a home kitchen, basement, garage or the like).
* Equipment at the facility can do the following: Grind herbs, prepare herbal extracts, macerate herbal products, bottle/label/seal product bottles
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT & THE NATURAL PRODUCTS INDUSTRY IN WNC
* The Natural Products Manufacturing Facility is believed to be the first shared-use facility of its type in the United States, and will accommodate early-stage small businesses and established companies in the natural products sector. The initiative taps Western North Carolina’s rich biodiversity and agricultural traditions of harvesting and growing herbs and medicinal plants.
* Project partners believe the initiative will help establish Western North Carolina as a leader in the natural products industry nationally. The recognition will help attract new natural products businesses and investment and support development of export opportunities for regional business.
* Producers of organic goldenseal extract, ginseng extract, byproducts of muscadine grapes and other products have expressed interest in moving production to the new facility.
PROJECT PARTNERS AND FUNDERS
* The facility will work in partnership with the Natural Products Laboratory at the BioBusiness Center at the AB Tech Enka campus (adjacent to Blue Ridge Food Ventures). Other partners are the Small Business and Technology Development Center (part of the University of North Carolina system), and Gaia Herbs, a dietary supplement manufacturer in Brevard.
* Funding comes from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, whose mission is to provide long-term economic and societal benefits to North Carolina through support of biotechnology research, business, education and strategic policy statewide, and the Golden LEAF Foundation, a nonprofit grants-making organization, plus Blue Ridge Food Ventures and Gaia Herbs.
* Cost for the facility was about $100,000, which included purchasing new equipment and supplies and upgrading the facility, and funds to provide technical assistance, training and strategic business planning for companies using the facility. This figure also includes the value of donated equipment.
* Now celebrating its fifth year in operation, the nonprofit Blue Ridge Food Ventures was North Carolina’s first business incubator created to provide services to farmers and food entrepreneurs. AdvantageWest started the initiative in 2005 and to-date, Blue Ridge Food Ventures has helped more than 160 food product-makers, farmers and caterers start and grow their businesses, with reported sales exceeding $3.5 million.
MORE ABOUT THE OCTOBER 18 EVENT
* Reception and tour of new facility take place Monday, October 18 from 3-4 p.m., with brief program at 3:30 p.m.
* Location: Blue Ridge Food Ventures, 1461 Sand Hill Rd., on the AB Tech Enka Campus, just west of Asheville.
* Event is open to the public, particularly those in the natural products industry
* State and federal elected officials have been invited
* Photo op: Ceremonial start of manufacturing
* Door prize will be free tuition for the class “Natural Products Business: Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for Herbal Dietary Supplements,” to be conducted by the BioNetwork BioBusiness Center at AB Tech. Value: $200.Read the full article
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