Categorized | Agriculture

KCFA urging support of origin disclosure bill

From the Kona Coffee Farmers Association Legislative Committee regarding support of SB 2097:

On Jan. 19, Sen. Josh Green introduced the Coffee Origin Disclosure Bill in a form similar to that requested by KCFA. The bill has been designated as SB No. 2097 and has been referred to the Senate Commerce & Consumer Protection Committee.

The chairwoman of that committee is Sen. Rosalyn Baker of Maui. Green is also a member of the committee. Under Senate procedures it is the decision of Baker whether SB 2097 is given a public hearing before the committee. If no hearing on the bill is scheduled by Feb. 17, the measure dies.

We need the help of KCFA members to contact Baker and Green to urge the scheduling of a committee hearing, and to emphasize the importance this disclosure bill to coffee farmers in Kona — and in other regions of the state as well.

Please send emails (either separately or jointly) to Baker and Green, and/or call their offices and leave messages asking that a hearing be scheduled.

Contact information for them is:

Baker, Rosalyn H. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 230
Phone 808-586-6070
Fax 808-586-6071
E-Mail: senbaker@Capitol.hawaii.gov

Green, Josh M.D. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 222
Phone 808-586-9385
Fax 808-586-9391
E-Mail: sengreen@capitol.hawaii.gov

To provide further background and points to include in communications to the senators, we’ve included an excerpt from the KCFA press release of Jan. 5 along with a copy of SB 2097.

EXCERPT:

The Kona Coffee Farmers Association (KCFA) has drafted a “Coffee Origin Disclosure Bill” for consideration by the Hawaii State Legislature in its 2012 session.

The Bill is designed to provide a modest (but important) step forward toward truth-in-labeling. For labels on packages containing, for example, 10% Kona coffee the measure would require disclosure of the origin of the 90% not grown in Kona. As an illustration, labels would be required to include disclosures such as “Contains: 90% Panamanian Coffee, 10% Kona Coffee.”

Under current law such packages are only required to put “10% Kona Blend” in small print at the bottom of the label; there is no requirement to disclose the origin of the 90%, nor is there a requirement to explicitly indicate that there is, in fact, non-Kona grown coffee in the package.

When the original bill leading to the “10% blend” coffee labeling law was introduced by in 1991, there was a provision mandating disclosure of the origin of all coffee in a blend. However, pressure on the Legislature from the Honolulu coffee blenders resulted in changing this disclosure requirement from “mandatory” to “voluntary.”

In the more than 20 years since passage of the original law, none of the major Honolulu blenders has ever chosen to voluntarily disclose of the origin of the imported coffee in their blends.

KCFA President Colehour Bondera said, “All too often consumers see the word KONA in the brand name in large print at the top of the label and incorrectly assume they are buying ‘Kona Coffee’ when the package is 90% from somewhere else. Even careful consumers who take the time to fully read the labels are confused by the small print at the bottom of the label. Are all Kona coffees are ‘10% blends’? Or is this an indication of a special type of coffee roast? Or does it indicate moisture content? Or is it a blend from 10 different Kona estate farms?

KCFA Legislative Committee Chair Bruce Corker said: “The Coffee Origin Disclosure Bill will inform consumers who read the details on the label as to where the coffee in the bag was grown. That type of disclosure will move Hawaii’s coffee labeling law closer to basic consumer protection and fair marketing principles.”

Bondera said “Kona coffee farmers need the support of Hawaii to protect their crop and their livelihoods, and that these goals are best achieved through state-level protection from the consumer deception which is currently permitted. To achieve this goal, consumers (which we all are) and farmers need to communicate the importance of truth-in-labeling to our State Legislators.”

To review the KCFA Policy Statement on the 10% blend law, visit: www.konacoffeefarmers.org/10_P…

The Kona Coffee Farmers Association is a non-profit farmer organization dedicated to the protection of the heritage and reputation of Kona Coffee.

COPY OF SB 2097

SECTION 1. Section 486-120.6, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:

“(b) A listing of the geographic origins of the various Hawaii-grown coffees and the regional origins of the various coffees not grown in Hawaii that are included in a blend [may]shall be [shown] listed on the label. [If used, this] This list shall consist of the term “Contains:”, followed by, in descending order of per cent by weight and separated by commas, the respective geographic origin or regional origin of the various coffees in the blend [that the manufacturer chooses to list]. Each geographic origin or regional origin [may] shallbe preceded by the per cent of coffee by weight represented by that geographic origin or regional origin, expressed as a number followed by the per cent sign. The type size used for this list shall [not exceed] be at least less than half that of the identity statement. This list shall appear below the identity statement, if included on the front panel of the label.”

SECTION 2. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 3. This Act shall take effect upon its approval; provided that section 1 of this Act shall take effect on July 1, 2013.

— Find out more:
www.KonaCoffeeFarmers.org

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