August 21, 2019
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Truth-In-Labeling – Position Statement

POSITION STATEMENT & RESOLUTION CALLING FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE IDENTITY OF HAWAII-GROWN SPECIALTY AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
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Adopted by KCFA Board of Directors, April 19, 2006
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It is the position of the KONA COFFEE FARMERS ASSOCIATION:
1) THAT specialty agricultural crops such as coffee, tropical fruit,
macadamia nuts, chocolate and vanilla constitute the fastest
expanding area of agricultural production on the Big Island and in
the rest of the state; and
2) THAT the care, skill and cultivation practices of Hawaii specialty
crop farmers, most of whom operate small family-owned farms, have
built a reputation for quality among consumers of specialty
agricultural products; and
3) THAT loopholes in certain Hawaii statutes allow unfair and
deceptive business practices which are used to deceive consumers into
believing non-Hawaii agriculture products have been grown in
Hawaii–to the damage of the reputation for quality of Hawaii-grown
specialty crops; and
4) THAT, by way of example, HRS 486-119 permits the deceptive
labeling of foreign-grown macadamia nuts and non-Hawaiian fruit
juices as “Made In Hawaii” if 51% or more of the value is added by
in-state processing–even though none of the food products have been
grown here; and
5) THAT, by way of further example, HRS 486-120.6 permits the use of
the “Kona” name on packaging of a “coffee blend” having as little as
10% coffee from Kona and 90% coffee from unidentified foreign
countries; and
6) THAT, by way of still further example, in their December 2004
edition the writers of Consumer Reports confused “Kona coffee blends”
with “Kona coffee” and concluded that Kona coffee can be “second
rate” on the basis of a mistaken belief that “Kona blends” are “Kona
coffee”; and
7) THAT, Congressman Ed Case has introduced legislation to add
macadamia nuts to the list of agricultural products for which
country-of-origin-labeling (“COOL”) is required and that Kona coffee
farmers have asked Congressman Case to introduce similar legislation
for coffee; and
8) THAT the State of Hawaii should provide the same type of
protections to its specialty crop farmers as the State of California
has provided to Napa Valley grape growers in Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code,
Section 25241 (“Napa Truth-in-Labeling Law”);

ON THE BASIS OF THE FOREGOING BE IT RESOLVED that to prevent the deceptive misuse of the identity of Kona coffee and other Hawaii-grown specialty agricultural products and to prevent the resulting damage to the reputation of these products from continuing, the Kona Coffee Farmers Association

A) REQUESTS Hawaii’s federal congressional delegation seek to add
coffee and macadamia nuts to the COOL list of agricultural products;
and
B) REQUESTS Hawaii’s State legislators to:
1) AMEND HRS 486-199 to prohibit the use of “Made In Hawaii”
labeling on the packaging of any product containing non-Hawaii-grown
agricultural products unless the Hawaii Department of Agriculture has
issued a formal written determination that there is no significant
commercial production of such agricultural product in the State; and
2) AMEND HRS 486-120.6 to provide that the word “Kona” may
not be used on any coffee package label as a brand name or otherwise,
including in connection with any “Kona coffee blend”, unless at least
75% of the coffee by weight was grown in Kona; and
3) FURTHER AMEND 486-120.6 to provide that on the packaging
of any “Kona coffee blend” the geographic origin and percentage by weight of any United States grown coffee and the country of origin and percentage by weight of any foreign-grown coffee must be prominently identified.