Honolulu, Hawaii

                , 2017


RE:   H.B. No. 256





Honorable Joseph M. Souki

Speaker, House of Representatives

Twenty-Ninth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2017

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Agriculture, to which was referred H.B. No. 256 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose of this measure is to support Hawaii's coffee growers by requiring more accurate labeling and increasing coffee blending amounts to protect the Hawaii coffee brand.


     More specifically, the measure:


(1)  Requires disclosure on the label of coffee blends of the respective regional origins and per cent by weight of the blended coffees; and


(2)  Makes it a violation of the coffee labeling law to use a geographic origin in labeling or advertising for coffee blends that contain less than fifty-one per cent coffee by weight from that geographic origin.


     Your Committee received written testimony in support of this measure from Kona Coffee Farmers Association; the Hawaii Democratic Party; Lyman Kona Coffee Farms; Pau Hana Estate, LLC; Huahua Farm; Sugai Kona Coffee; and nineteen individuals.


     Your Committee received written testimony in opposition to this measure from the Hawaii Food Industry Association, Hawaii Coffee Company, Kona Coffee Council, Greenwell Farms, Hawaii Coffee Association, and three individuals.


     Your Committee received written comments from the Department of Agriculture; LBD Coffee, LLC; and three individuals.


     Your Committee finds that the State's coffee industry produces some of the most highly prized and valuable coffee in the world.  Protecting Hawaii-grown coffee's brand is of paramount importance to ensure that consumers are not misled by less than accurate labels.  Moreover, your Committee believes that requiring a Hawaii-grown coffee constitute not less than fifty-one per cent of a blend in order to be labeled as being from a specific geographic origin is reasonable and will promote the unique qualities of the Hawaii-grown coffee produced in the specific geographic region.


     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Agriculture that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 256 and recommends that it pass Second Reading and be referred to your Committee on Consumer Protection & Commerce.



Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Agriculture,