HAWAII – A senate bill that would specify labeling requirements for products containing Hawaii-grown cacao will get a committee vote on Thursday, however numerous farmers are against the proposed law.
SB1327 mandates that only products that contain cacao ingredients made from Hawaii-grown cacao and no other cacao or chocolate flavoring may be labelled of advertised using the phrase “Hawaii-grown cacao”.
The bill also allows the Hawaii-grown cacao phrase to be used for:
… any product containing any cacao ingredients of a blend of Hawaii-grown cacao and cacao not grown in Hawaii or other natural or artificial cacao flavoring, the per cent cacao by weight of the Hawaii-grown cacao used in the blend, followed by the geographic origin of the weight-specified cacao and the term “Cacao Blend”.Senate Bill 1327, as of Feb. 4, 2014
Farmers like Bruce Corker of Rancho Aloha are displeased with the direction the measure is headed with blends. “SB1327 would extend this same sort of “degradation” to the “Hawaii-Grown Chocolate” name and would subject consumers to the same sort of “fraud and confusion” from state-sanctioned deceptive labeling,” Corker wrote in testimony. “The State of Hawaii needs to roll back, and not extend, this sort of fraudulent labeling and stop the economic damages it causes to Hawaii farmers.”
“Are you not considering selling Hawaii’s soul- One More Time- to the Devil?” asked Honaunau coffee farmer Cecelia Smith. “Enough already!!”
Derek Lanter, as president of the Hawaii Chocolate and Cacao Organization, stood in support of the measure, but offered some revision suggestions.
a. “Hawaiian Chocolate” and “Hawaii-grown” chocolate REQUIRES the chocolate product be made from 100% cocoa liquor or cocoa mass from Hawaii Grown cacao.
b. Use of the Hawaiian geographic origins, such as (Maui Chocolate, Oahu Chocolate, Kauai Chocolate, Molokai Chocolate, Lanai Chocolate Hawaii Chocolate) or more specific names REQUIRES 100% cocoa liquor or cocoa mass from Hawaii Grown cacao from the named geographic origin
c. Hawaiian chocolate (100% Hawaii-grown) that uses cacao from different geographic origins from within Hawaii (Maui Chocolate, Oahu Chocolate, Kauai Chocolate, Molokai Chocolate, Lanai Chocolate Hawaii Chocolate ) MAY state the specific geographic origins used in the blend. This is a subcategory of Hawaiian Chocolate
d. It is prohibited for any chocolate product containing a blend of Hawaiian-origin cacao and other cacao to use the term Hawaiian on the label, unless it contains a minimum of not less than 51% cocoa liquor or cocoa mass from Hawaii Grown Cacao in the product. The identity statement on the label will state the percentage of Cacao from all Other Origins used. In accordance with the following example: 51% Hawaii-grown, 49% other origin cacao.
e. Cocoa butter whereas Chocolate manufacturing requires the addition of cocoa butter to make commercially acceptable chocolate and Whereas Hawaiian-grown cocoa butter is not available or produced anywhere. Therefore the use cocoa butter from non-Hawaii origin will be permitted in manufacturing Hawaii–grown dark chocolate and Hawaii-grown milk chocolate. Derek Lanter, HCCA President (Feb. 3, 2014)
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture supports the intent of the bill. The Department recognizes that Hawaiian-grown cacao commands two to four times the price of other cacao that is traded in the world market. The branding of fine artisanal chocolate made from Hawaiian-grown cacao is an important facet to assure potential customers that the produce they are buying is a genuine product from Hawaii. This bill appears to model the requirements for Hawaii-grown coffee which is needed to protect Hawaii-grown cacao and provide an incentive for local growers to stay in business.Scott Enright, HDOA chairperson (Feb. 4, 2014)
Aloha Chairman Nishihara and Agriculture Committee members, I am writing you to oppose the passing of SB1327. As a representative of the Kona Chapter of the Hawaii Farmers Union we believe this bill would take away value on local cacao production and increase the possibility of a diluted market. We must think of creative ways to keep the incentive high for farmers to grow specialty crops such as cacao. One way to do that would to protect and give incentives for 100% local products. If we allow for a 10% blend law to take effect as it did with coffee our local markets will not be protected. I urge you to vote no on SB1327.
Steve Sakala Vice, President Kona Chapter Hawaii Farmers Union (Feb. 2, 2014)
This bill would bring to Hawaii’s cacao farmers the same sort of labeling system that has damaged the economic interests of Hawaii’s coffee farmers for more than 20 years. The Legislature made a factual finding that this system of 10% blend coffee labeling “causes consumer fraud” and “degrades” the name of Hawaii-grown coffee. Cacao farmers should not be subjected to this same sort of “degradation” of the reputation of their crop. The Senate Agriculture Committee needs to stand up for Hawaii farmers. The Committee needs to roll back, and not extend, this sort of fraudulent labeling and the economic damages it causes to farmers. As a Hawaii farmer, I request that request that SB1327 be rejected.Mila Horak, Onila Farms (Feb. 2, 2014)
Chapter 486, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
Hawaii-grown cacao; labeling requirements. (a) In addition to all other labeling requirements, no identity statement used for labeling or advertising cacao, chocolate, cacao butter, or other product produced in whole or in part from cacao, shall contain the phrase “Hawaii-grown cacao”, or similar language, except:
(1) For any product that contains cacao ingredients made from Hawaii-grown cacao and no other cacao or chocolate flavoring; and
(2) For any product containing any cacao ingredients of a blend of Hawaii-grown cacao and cacao not grown in Hawaii or other natural or artificial cacao flavoring, the per cent cacao by weight of the Hawaii-grown cacao used in the blend, followed by the geographic origin of the weight-specified cacao and the term “Cacao Blend”.
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.
(b) A listing of the geographic origins of the various Hawaii-grown cacao and the regional origins of the various cacao 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 by weight and separated by commas, the respective geographic origin or regional origin of the various cacaos in the blend that the manufacturer chooses to list. Each geographic origin or regional origin may be preceded by the per cent of cacao 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 half that of the identity statement. This list shall appear below the identity statement, if included on the front panel of the label.
(c) It shall be a violation of this section to:
(1) Use the identity statement specified in subsection (a) or similar terms in labeling or advertising unless the product contains cacao from that one geographic origin;
(2) Use a geographic origin in labeling or advertising, if the product contains less than ten per cent cacao by weight from that geographic origin;
(3) Use a geographic origin in advertising a product without disclosing the percentage of cacao used from that geographic origin as described in subsection (a);
(4) Misrepresent, on a label or in advertising of a product, the per cent cacao by weight from a geographic origin;
(5) Use the term “All Hawaiian” on a label or in advertising of a cacao if the cacao is not produced entirely from cacao produced in geographic origins defined in this chapter;
(6) Use a geographic origin on the front label panel of a cacao product other than in the trademark or in the identity statement as authorized in subsection (a) unless one hundred per cent of the cacao contained in the product is from that geographic origin;
(7) Use more than one trademark on a package of a product unless one hundred per cent of the cacao contained in the product is from that geographic origin specified by the trademark;
(8) Use a trademark that begins with the name of a geographic origin on a product unless one hundred per cent of the cacao contained in the product comes from that geographic origin or the trademark ends with words that indicate a business entity; or
(9) 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 (5) and in a location other than the front label panel of a cacao product.
(d) Manufacturers and other persons who package cacao products covered by this section shall maintain, for a period of two years, records on the volume and geographic origin or regional origin of cacao purchased and sold 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.
(e) For the purpose of this section:
“Geographic origin” means the geographic regions in which Hawaii-grown cacao are produced; provided that the term “Hawaiian” may be substituted for the geographic origin “Hawaii”.
“Per cent cacao by weight” means the percentage calculated by dividing the weight in pounds of cacao of one geographic or regional origin used in a production run of the product, by the total weight in pounds of the cacao used in that production run of the product, multiplying the quotient by one hundred.”Senate Bill 1327 as Feb. 2, 2014
Status of bills represent up-to-date information via State Legislative website
SB1327 – Specifies labeling requirements for products containing Hawaii-grown cacao.
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HB1125 – Specifies labeling requirements for products containing Hawaii-grown cacao.
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