HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO COFFEE LABELING.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that for over twenty-nine years, Hawaii has been the only region in the world that statutorily regulates the uses of its geographic names, such as "Kona", "Maui", and "Ka‘ū", on labels of its specialty agricultural products but requires that only ten per cent of the product originate in the geographic area indicated. The legislature further finds that the low ten per cent requirement directly damages and degrades the reputation of world-famous Hawaii-grown coffees and damages the economic interests of Hawaii coffee farmers. The legislature notes that a 2018 publication entitled "Strengthening Sustainable Food Systems Through Geographical Indications: An Analysis of Economic Impacts" by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development concluded, among other things, that Kona coffee "does not enjoy any strong protection of its name" from the State of Hawaii, and as a result, downstream stakeholders, rather than farmers, "reap the economic benefits of the fame of Kona".
The legislature also finds that more than ninety per cent of Hawaii's coffee farms are located on the island of Hawaii. In 2014, the Hawaii county council adopted Resolution No. 501‑14, entitled "Requesting the Hawaii Legislature to Adopt Provisions for Truth-In-Labeling for Hawaii-Grown Coffees". The council's request to the legislature was based on several findings, including:
(1) Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 102, S.D. 1, H.D. 1, regular session of 2007, which stated in part that:
(A) Existing labeling requirements for Kona coffee causes consumer fraud and degrades the "Kona coffee" name; and
(B) Confusion as to the difference between Kona coffee and Kona coffee blends caused Consumer Reports magazine to rate Kona coffee as "second rate";
(2) It is inherently deceptive and misleading to label coffee as a geographically identified blend, such as "Hamakua Blend", "Ka‘ū Blend", or "Kona Blend", unless at least a majority of the coffee is from that region;
(3) The label on the package of a ten per cent Hawaii coffee blend does not advise consumers that ninety per cent of the coffee in the package is imported, foreign-grown, or may be a mixture of multiple Hawaiian regions and foreign-grown coffee;
(4) Not identifying the origin of ninety per cent of a coffee blend is inherently deceptive to consumers, who are often erroneously led to believe that a package of coffee blend contains a blend of coffees only from farms in Kona or other regions in Hawaii, when in fact a portion of the blended coffee could be foreign-grown coffee;
(5) Blending cheaper commodity coffees from Vietnam, Mexico, Panama, Africa, and other foreign countries to fill ninety per cent of the coffee blend enriches the mainland-based corporations that own the Hawaii blending companies with immense excess profits, without any benefit to Hawaii coffee farmers;
(6) The acknowledged blending of beans of various roasts and origins by coffee roasters to create unique flavor profiles is an acceptable practice and is different from the deceptive labeling using misleading geographic origin names of blends, which violates the basic principles of consumer protection and fair marketing; and
(7) Immediate legislative action is necessary to protect the reputation of Hawaii-grown coffees as premier, specialty coffees from further degradation.
The legislature contends that these labeling and advertising requirements were primarily intended to resolve any consumer confusion and allow consumers to "make an enlightened choice", as stated in Act 289, Session Laws of Hawaii 1991. These statutory requirements ensure truthful representation of a coffee product's geographical origin, which protects consumers from fraud and deception in coffee labeling and advertising.
The purpose of this Act is to support Hawaii's coffee growers by:
(1) Expanding the coffee labeling and advertising requirements to include inner wrapping labels given to customers;
(2) Requiring disclosure on the label of coffee blends of the respective geographic and regional origins and per cent by weight of the blended coffees; and
(3) Prohibiting use of the term "All Hawaiian" in labeling or advertising for roasted or instant coffee not produced entirely from green coffee beans grown and processed in Hawaii.
SECTION 2. Section 486-120.6, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§486-120.6 Hawaii-grown [
or instant] coffee; labeling or advertising
requirements. (a) In
addition to all other labeling requirements, the identity statement used for
labeling or advertising roasted or instant coffee produced in whole or in part
from Hawaii-grown green coffee beans shall meet the following requirements:
(1) For roasted or instant coffee that contains one hundred per cent Hawaii-grown coffee by weight, the identity statement shall consist of either:
(A) The geographic origin of the Hawaii-grown coffee, in coffee consisting of beans from only one geographic origin, followed by the word "Coffee"; provided that the geographic origin may be immediately preceded by the term "100%"; or
(B) The per cent coffee by weight of one of the Hawaii-grown coffees, used in coffee consisting of beans from several geographic origins, followed by the geographic origin of the weight-specified coffee and the terms "Coffee" and "All Hawaiian";
(2) For roasted or instant coffee consisting of a blend of one or more Hawaii-grown coffees and coffee not grown in Hawaii, the per cent coffee by weight of one of the Hawaii-grown coffees used in the blend, followed by the geographic origin of the weight-specified coffee and the term "Coffee Blend"; and
(3) Each word or character in the identity statement shall be of the same type size and shall be contiguous. The smallest letter or character of the identity statement on packages of sixteen ounces or less net weight shall be at least one and one-half times the type size required under federal law for the statement of net weight or three-sixteenths of an inch in height, whichever is smaller. The smallest letter or character of the identity statement on packages of greater than sixteen ounces net weight shall be at least one and one-half times the type size required under federal law for the statement of net weight. The identity statement shall be conspicuously displayed without any intervening material in a position above the statement of net weight. Upper and lower case letters may be used interchangeably in the identity statement.
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 be shown on the label. If used, this list shall consist of the term
"Contains:", followed by, in descending order of per cent coffee
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 be 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 less than half that of the
identity statement. This list shall
appear below the identity statement[ , if included] on the front panel of
(c) The requirements of subsections (a) and (b) shall apply to the labeling of any inner package or inner wrapping that includes any geographic origin of Hawaii-grown coffee, whether or not the inner package is intended to be individually sold.
(c)] (d) It shall be a violation of this section to:
(1) Use the identity statement specified in subsection (a)(1)(A) or similar terms in labeling or advertising unless the package of roasted or instant coffee contains one hundred per cent coffee by weight from that one geographic origin;
(2) Use a geographic origin in labeling or advertising, including in conjunction with a coffee style or in any other manner, if the roasted or instant coffee contains less than ten per cent coffee by weight from that geographic origin;
a geographic origin in labeling or advertising roasted or instant
coffee, including advertising in conjunction with a coffee style or in any
other manner, without disclosing the [
percentage of] per cent
coffee by weight used from that geographic origin as described in subsection
(a)(1)(B) and [ (a)(2);] (2);
(4) Use a geographic origin in labeling or advertising roasted or instant coffee, including in conjunction with a coffee style or in any other manner, if the green coffee beans used in that roasted or instant coffee do not meet the grade standard requirements of rules adopted under chapter 147;
(5) Misrepresent, on a label or in advertising of a roasted or instant coffee, the per cent coffee by weight of any coffee from a geographic origin or regional origin;
the term "All Hawaiian" on a label or in advertising of a roasted or
instant coffee if the roasted or instant coffee is not produced entirely from
green coffee beans [
produced in geographic origins defined in this chapter;]
grown and processed in Hawaii;
a geographic origin on the front label panel of a package of roasted or instant
coffee other than in the trademark or in the identity statement as
authorized in subsection (a)(1) and (2) unless
one hundred per cent of] the roasted or instant coffee [ contained in
the package is] contains per cent coffee by weight
from that geographic origin;
more than one trademark on a package of roasted or instant coffee unless [
hundred per cent of] the roasted or instant coffee [ contained in the
package is] contains per cent coffee by weight
from that geographic origin specified by the trademark;
a trademark that begins with the name of a geographic origin on a package of roasted
or instant coffee unless [
one hundred per cent of] the roasted or instant
coffee [ contained in the package comes] contains per
cent coffee by weight from that geographic origin or the trademark ends
with words that indicate a business entity; or
(10) Print the identity statement required by subsection (a) in a smaller font than that used for a trademark that includes the name of a geographic origin pursuant to paragraph (7) and in a location other than the front label panel of a package of roasted or instant coffee.
Roasters, manufacturers, or other persons who package roasted or instant
coffee covered by this section shall maintain, for a period of two years, records
on the volume and geographic origin or regional origin of coffees purchased [ and],
sold, and used and any other records required by the department for the
purpose of enforcing this section.
Authorized employees of the department shall have access to these records
during normal business hours.
For the purpose of this section:
"Geographic origin" means the geographic regions in which Hawaii-grown green coffee beans are produced, as defined in rules adopted under chapter 147; provided that the term "Hawaiian" may be substituted for the geographic origin "Hawaii".
"Per cent coffee by weight" means the percentage calculated by dividing the weight in pounds of roasted green coffee beans of one geographic or regional origin used in a production run of roasted or instant coffee, by the total weight in pounds of the roasted green coffee beans used in that production run of roasted or instant coffee, and multiplying the quotient by one hundred."
SECTION 3. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2050.
Coffee Labeling; Blended Coffee; Percent of Coffee by Weight
Expands the coffee labeling and advertising requirements to include inner packaging or wrapping labels. Requires coffee blend labels to disclose geographic and regional origins with the percent by weight of each origin. Clarifies that the use of the term "All Hawaiian" is prohibited when the coffee product is not produced entirely from green coffee beans grown and processed in Hawaii. Effective 7/1/2050. (HD1)
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.