Membership Criteria

I. The Got to Be NC label may be used only by qualified producers or processors of North Carolina agricultural and food products.

1. In-State Processed Items

• The label may be applied only on North Carolina produced or processed products which use product ingredients from North Carolina when readily available.
• Products not indigenous to North Carolina do not qualify (Ex. citrus, coffee, etc.).
• Imported products from foreign sources are not eligible.
• Only the first/top-quality products from a product line will be considered for membership.
• The processing/production facilities or corporate headquarters must be located in North Carolina.
• If the processing facility is located out-of-state, the product must be a 100% North Carolina agricultural product.
• Identification of the North Carolina corporate headquarters is required on product packaging.
• Facilities and products must meet all Federal and State regulations where applicable.

2. Out-of-State Processed Items

GTBNC member companies are strongly encouraged to explore every possible opportunity to have their products processed in North Carolina. If a NC – based processor is unavailable, an out-of-state processor may be used as long as all of the in-state processing rules in addition to the rules shown below are met:

• The primary ingredient used in the product must be grown or raised in NC by GTBNC members.
• The out-of-state processor must be approved by the GTBNC Marketing Manager
• The item to be processed may only be packaged under the NC-based company’s brand name(s).
• Identification of the company’s North Carolina headquarters is required on product packaging.
• Processing facilities must meet or exceed North Carolina regulations and be consistent with Federal regulations.
• A signed out-of-state addendum must accompany any application for an out-of-state processed item.
» Click here for a copy of the addendum

II. Out-of-State Company Provisions

If an out-of-state based company applies for GTBNC membership it may qualify for GTBNC membership if these guidelines are met:

• The company must own the NC processing facilities where the product is processed or if a company contracts with a North Carolina based co-packer / processor, the product must include over 50% NC grown or raised ingredients to qualify for membership.
• Products processed in NC by an out-of-state company must contain wording such as “Processed in North Carolina for ‘company name’”.

III. Associate Member Qualifications:

Any business that promotes and sells GTBNC member products may qualify as an associate member. This would include grocery stores, restaurants, food distributors, specialty and other retail stores and farmers markets.

IV. Membership Categories:

All members will be included in one of the following categories. If your product does not qualify, approval must be requested in writing to the Goodness Grows Manager. Inclusion in the Got to Be NC program under the following categories requires that all inspections are current and you meet or exceed all membership criteria.

1. Fruits / Vegetables

NC grown fruits and vegetables must meet USDA Number 1 grades or better. Only top quality products will be accepted. Products not grown in NC may not be shipped/sold in boxes or packages bearing the GTBNC logo.

2. Fresh / Processed Meats

Must be raised and packaged / processed in North Carolina and must comply with NCDA & CS, County Health Inspection, and/or FDA standards. For more information, please visit the NCDA&CS's Meat and Poultry Division's website.

3. Dairy / Frozen Foods / Eggs

All inspections must be current. Must be consistent with all state and federal laws for the production and sale of dairy, frozen and egg products.

4. Bottled Water

Must be from a NC Spring or underground natural water source

5. Beer / Wine / Soft Drinks / Distilled Spirits

Must be bottled in NC and include NC ingredients when available

6. Processed Food Items

Main ingredient must be from NC, when available. If the main ingredient is not from NC, prior approval must be requested for inclusion. See processed product guidelines listed under item I.

7. Out-of-State Processed Food Items

The main ingredient must be from North Carolina. If the main ingredient is not in season in North Carolina, NO SUBSTITUTIONS MAY BE MADE.

8. Livestock

Producers of cattle, sheep, swine, poultry, horse, goat, ostrich and emu. Quarantined herds do not qualify.

9. Field Crops

Corn, soybeans, grain crops.

10. Organic

To be listed as an organic producer, you must be in accordance with The National Organic Program or have a certified organic product (must provide documentation). For more information on The National Organic Program, please visit www.ams.usda.gov/nop/indexIE.htm.

11. Seafood

To qualify as a Got to Be NC or Freshness From NC Waters member in the category of seafood, the product must be farm raised on a NC farm or caught by a NC fisherman and brought to port on the NC coast. If the catch was made on the NC Coast by an out of state fisherman but brought to port on the NC Coast; it is an eligible product only if the company selling the catch is a member of GTBNC or FFNCW.

12. Farmers Market (Associate Membership Only)

A majority of the vendors and applying markets must be NC growers and selling NC products.

13. Non-Food Items (Soaps, Lotions, etc…)

The primary component must be from NC

14. Green Industry (Nursery, Greenhouse, Trees, etc…)

Items must be grown in North Carolina. Nursery operators are strongly encouraged to be certified by the NCDA & CS Plant Industry Division.

15. Animal and Pet Feeds / Treats

Feed must be processed in NC and primary ingredient must be North Carolina grown. 

V. Application and Documentation Requirements to use the Got to Be NC Label:

1. Application

• To be considered for membership, you must include a completed and signed application form with the proper documentation for each type of product considered. If you require county, state or federal inspection for business, please include copies of all certificates.
• If you are requesting membership for a processed or non-food item, please include two (2) samples of each product you would like considered with your application. If your product is perishable, please include two (2) “real” samples and two (2) “dummy” packages.

2. Acceptable Forms of Documentation:

• County Extension Agent Letter – To verify your current farm state and condition
• Co-Packer / Processor Letter – To confirm that they process your product and it is in accordance with GTBNC guidelines
• NCDA & CS Inspection Certificate – This is used for in-home processing and dairy facilities
• USDA Inspection Certificate
• NCDA & CS Marketing Specialist Inspection – If a NCDA & CS Marketing Specialist has visited your farm or facility, a letter of recommendation from them may be used as documentation
• Farmers Market Verification Form – Verifies that you are a current seller at said market
• Photo Documentation of operation – Used to verify roadside stand operation

VI. Application to use the Got to Be NC label:

1. Any person or firm representing and packaging North Carolina agricultural or food products may submit an application to use the Got to Be NC label on eligible products.

2. Application shall be made on forms provided by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

3. Permission to use the Got to Be NC label will be granted upon NCDA&CS committee approval of application. Application and products will be under continual review by the Got to Be NC committee. All decisions of the Got to Be NC committee are final.

4. Applicant must furnish three copies of product(s) labels and five product(s) samples in a finished package.

VII. Assistance: The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will provide the following services upon request:

1. Marketing service assistance.

2. Assistance in Retail, Foodservice and Institutional marketing.

3. Advertising, sales promotions, merchandising, public relations campaigns and special media promotions throughout the year.

VIII. Penalty:

1. Any person, firm, partnership, corporation or association who shall violate any provision herein, give false information in the application to package products under the Got to Be NC label, or use any container bearing the Got to Be NC label for packaging products which are not of North Carolina production, shall be subject to a suspension of his/her authority to use the Got to Be NC label.

2. Nothing herein shall be construed to exempt any person or firm from provisions of other applicable laws or regulations.

IX. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reserves the right to change these by laws as necessary