THE TRUTH IN LABELING BILL FOR COFFEE GROWN IN HAWAI'I passed second reading in the state House of Representatives on Friday after passing the Senate and is apparently headed toward becoming law. Senate Bill 745 would extend the offense of false labeling of Hawai'i-grown coffee to include roasted coffee, impose a $10,000 fine for each separate offense of false labeling of Hawai'i-grown coffee, and make an appropriation to fund enforcement. Kaʻū's Sen. Dru Kanuha co-introduced the measure.
Executive Director of Hawai'i Coffee Association, Chris Manfredi, sent in testimony in support. "Hawai'i’s growers work tirelessly to produce some of the finest coffee grown anywhere. Exceptionally high quality is vital so producers can earn a relatively high price for their products - to stay in business, pay their employees and feed their families. When they visit the supermarket, they are
"Unethical sellers introduce foreign grown coffee into the market to defraud consumers by representing these fakes as Hawai'i-grown products. Hawai'i’s coffee growers are squeezed between a high cost of production and unfair price competition. Moreover, these inferior fakes do not share the same quality attributes of the genuine product, further undermining Hawai'i’s reputation and brands, and they are not required to comply with Hawai'i’s minimum grade standards. When someone cashes in on our hard-fought reputation by offering fake products in a package labeled as being of Hawaiian origin, it undermines the work of our entire industry."
Volcano resident Marsha Hee wrote: "This bill closes an important loophole where counterfeiters have been escaping oversight. By granting Hawai'i Department of Agriculture the ability to verify the authenticity of a roasted coffee’s origin, it opens the door for better enforcement and higher profits to farmers. The less counterfeit coffee in the marketplace, the greater the demand for real Hawaiian coffee."
Sharon Hurd, Chair of the state Board of Agriculture, wrote: "DOA supports the appropriation of funds to hire one full time measurement standards specialist/inspector (approximate appropriation request ofhttps://oritain.com), which can generate science-based data from specific coffee growing regions as a proof and confirmation of truth or false labeling."
"We appreciate the Legislature working with the coffee industry through protection of origin products from cherry all the way through roasted coffee. The technology exists to test the authenticity of both grade and origin of Hawaiian coffee. Enforcement of this bill is expected to be on an as-needed basis, such as a consumer complaint. Having said that, inclusion of a FTE position is necessary to protect coffee and other crops from fraud."
Hawai'i Farm Bureau Executive Director Brian Miyamoto noted: "Hawai'i-grown coffee is recognized
For earlier testimony submitted on this issue, see http://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2023_02_21_archive.html and http://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2023/02/kau-news-briefs-tuesday-feb-28-2023.html
A MAC NUT LABELING BILL THAT PASSED THE STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND FIRST READING IN THE SENATE was scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate on Friday, but the hearing was delayed. The delay may indicate it will not be heard at all this legislative session in the Senate. It would need passage by the Senate after succeeding in the House in order to become Hawai'i law.
The measure, introduced in the Senate by Kaʻū's Sen. Dru Kanuha, would clarify labeling requirements for macadamia nuts, mandating that country of origin to be included on the principal display panel of a consumer package of raw and processed macadamia nuts.
Crissa Uluwehi Midori Okamura wrote: "The legislature threw out the bill HB1348 (3/17/23). Our 'ohana put in our testimonies but to no avail! Very sad for our local farmers & upsetting to know they will sell under the premise of 'Being MADE in Hawai'i' when mac nuts come from Africa!!! Like sugarcane, soon macadamia will be gone too."
See more testimony at http://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2023_03_14_archive.html.
Palila, the endangered finch-billed honeycreepers, were found in most mamane dry forest trees on this island. Photo from DLNR
HAWAI'I'S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION IS URGING THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE to prioritize its efforts to protect critically endangered Native Hawaiian forest birds. A letter from Sen. Mazie Hirono, Sen. Brian Schatz, Rep. Ed Case and Rep. Jill Tokuda asks NPS to use funding from the Inflation Reduction Act passed last year to continue efforts to protect native forest birds.
"As pollinators and seed dispersal agents, Hawaiian honeycreepers fill an irreplaceable niche within Hawai'i's native forests, which are the source of all our islands' freshwater. Four Hawaiian honeycreepers are at risk of extinction within the next ten years: akikiki ~1 year; kiwikiu ~6 years; akekee ~8 years; and akohekohe ~10 years. If we lose these special birds, we also lose the essential roles they perform within the native ecosystem and a piece of Hawaiian culture. Unless we take significant action now, they will be gone forever."
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