Kona coffee farmers are warning Hawaii state legislators that a new law bypassing inspection requirements could lead to counterfeiting, as other exporters may try to pass their beans off as pure kona.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie initially said he planned to veto a law that eliminated the requirement for mandatory Kona-certification inspections for coffee beans leaving the region, but he has since changed his mind, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek report.
The Kona Coffee Farmers Association has warned for months that the new law could lead counterfeiters to pass imported beans off as pure Kona, repeating the scandalous behavior that rocked the Hawaii’s coffee industry in the 1990s.
Bruce Corker, legislative committee chair of the farmers association, told Bloomberg that he expects history to repeat itself. And when it does, the smaller, legitimate Kona farmers livelihoods may be in jeopardy.
“This is a radical departure for protection of Hawaiian-grown coffee that has been in place for 15 years,” he said. “The danger is there’s going to be processors who don’t operate in good faith. Nobody is going to be carefully monitoring that.”
The full story: Bloomberg Businessweek