Despite objections from Kona Coffee farmers, the Hawaii Legislature has approved a bill that would remove mandatory certification requirements for other farmers labeling their coffee as Kona.
Currently, coffee labeled as Kona must be composed of at least 10 percent Kona beans, and all Kona-labeled coffee must be inspected and certified by the state. According to a CBS Moneywatch report, the bill addresses a state staffing shortfall, as all but one of the state inspector positions have been removed from the budget.
If the bill is signed into law by Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, inspection will become voluntary and coffee farmers will be free to provide their own documentation asserting that their beans are legitimately Kona.
“This is a bad bill and it’s going to have disastrous effects for quality and reputation for Kona coffee,” Bruce Corker, a committee chairman for the Kona Coffee Farmers Association told CBS, arguing that the bill will make it easy for counterfeiters to label their cheaply produced coffee as Kona.
Abercrombie has 45 days to sign or veto the bill.
The full story: CBS Moneywatch