Shawn Steiman, coffee author, scientist and consultant from Hawaii, writes in his recent blog: "In Hawai‘i, the blending of Kona coffee with imported coffee is a regular controversy...If Kona coffee blends were made illegal, the market would not only be flooded with Kona coffee but this coffee would all be sold at typical Kona prices.  With such an increase in supply, could the market bear so much coffee at the higher-than-blended prices?"

Good question!

Eyal / ROASTe.com

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NY Times today reports the following:
"The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday released 17 warning letters to food manufacturers, making good on a vow to crack down on misleading labels on food packages....“The F.D.A. is not merely firing a shot across the bow; it is declaring war on misleading food labeling,” said Bruce A. Silverglade, director of legal affairs of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group that had pushed for stricter rules...

...The warning letters followed commitments last fall by the F.D.A. commissioner, Margaret A. Hamburg, who has made a priority of improving information for consumers on food packages...

...The F.D.A. said that the labels of some Nestlé Juicy Juice products implied they were primarily made of a single juice, like orange or tangerine, rather than a flavored blend of juices."

So the Feds seem to be on target, while the State of Hawaii is not.
Using the word "illegal" implies government intervention. I strongly oppose this. Products should find their price and quality niche in an open market. This benefits everyone. When the demand for high quality coffee is high, such as it is today, it has a positive affect on price for the growers. Grower organizations in Hawaii have the right to establish standards which I think is a good thing. To say that Kona should be treated differently than African, South American or any other area's coffees is ridiculous. Frankly I have never understood the big deal about Kona coffee compared to Ethiopian, Kenyan and South American. I wouldn't buy it for myself. Just my take.
BS, the State of Hawaii is very on target with the FDA labeling. I'll quote the pertinant Hawaiian law again:

4. Coffee blend of Hawaii-grown coffees with coffee not grown in Hawaii: The identity statement shall consist of the per cent coffee by weight of one of the Hawaii-grown coffees in the blend, followed by the geographic origin of that Hawaii-grown coffee, and the term “coffee blend” as follows:
Example: 20% OAHU COFFEE BLEND

Joachim Oster said:
NY Times today reports the following:
"The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday released 17 warning letters to food manufacturers, making good on a vow to crack down on misleading labels on food packages....“The F.D.A. is not merely firing a shot across the bow; it is declaring war on misleading food labeling,” said Bruce A. Silverglade, director of legal affairs of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group that had pushed for stricter rules...

...The warning letters followed commitments last fall by the F.D.A. commissioner, Margaret A. Hamburg, who has made a priority of improving information for consumers on food packages...

...The F.D.A. said that the labels of some Nestlé Juicy Juice products implied they were primarily made of a single juice, like orange or tangerine, rather than a flavored blend of juices."

So the Feds seem to be on target, while the State of Hawaii is not.
I recently bought Kirkland brand "White Cranberry/Peach" 100% juice blend (insmaller letters - containing 4 fruit juices - from concentrate). The main ingredient listed on the back? Water, White grape juice, etc. So in reality, it is Grape Juice with cranberry and peach added.

Joachim Oster said:
NY Times today reports the following:
"The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday released 17 warning letters to food manufacturers, making good on a vow to crack down on misleading labels on food packages....“The F.D.A. is not merely firing a shot across the bow; it is declaring war on misleading food labeling,” said Bruce A. Silverglade, director of legal affairs of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group that had pushed for stricter rules...

...The warning letters followed commitments last fall by the F.D.A. commissioner, Margaret A. Hamburg, who has made a priority of improving information for consumers on food packages...

...The F.D.A. said that the labels of some Nestlé Juicy Juice products implied they were primarily made of a single juice, like orange or tangerine, rather than a flavored blend of juices."

So the Feds seem to be on target, while the State of Hawaii is not.
Mike, it's not the first time that a state law doesn't comply with federal law. Case with e.g. 20% Oahu Coffee Blend: The customer has no way of finding out what 80% else is in the bag. Coffee maybe? Maybe not? That's consumers deception, plain and simple. And that's what the FDA is now going after. The difference that the blend lobby in the state got away with it, is because the FDA didn't do anything on that scale since 1990 (around the time when the HAwaii coffee blend laws were imperfectly installed). It is not of importance for educated consumers or business insiders like you and me - its about naive, uninformed consumer protection.

miKe mcKoffee aka Mike McGinness said:
BS, the State of Hawaii is very on target with the FDA labeling. I'll quote the pertinant Hawaiian law again:

4. Coffee blend of Hawaii-grown coffees with coffee not grown in Hawaii: The identity statement shall consist of the per cent coffee by weight of one of the Hawaii-grown coffees in the blend, followed by the geographic origin of that Hawaii-grown coffee, and the term “coffee blend” as follows:
Example: 20% OAHU COFFEE BLEND

Joachim Oster said:
NY Times today reports the following:
"The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday released 17 warning letters to food manufacturers, making good on a vow to crack down on misleading labels on food packages....“The F.D.A. is not merely firing a shot across the bow; it is declaring war on misleading food labeling,” said Bruce A. Silverglade, director of legal affairs of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group that had pushed for stricter rules...

...The warning letters followed commitments last fall by the F.D.A. commissioner, Margaret A. Hamburg, who has made a priority of improving information for consumers on food packages...

...The F.D.A. said that the labels of some Nestlé Juicy Juice products implied they were primarily made of a single juice, like orange or tangerine, rather than a flavored blend of juices."

So the Feds seem to be on target, while the State of Hawaii is not.
Robert,
When consumers demand a quality product, the producers have to be protected by laws. Otherwise the consumers will not get the quality product, but fakes (higher profit margin). The producers themselves will go bankrupt and stop producing. That's where government and laws kick in. The more complex a society and economy gets, the more laws and rules have to be made. If you have a best selling espresso known as 'Bedwell Espresso'. would you be cool if the neighbor store sells a '10% Bedwell Blend'? There many superb coffees around the world- the farmers can only make a living if all their regions are protected. Kona, Jamaica, and increasingly the Ethiopian government are just at the forefront of the fight.

Robert Bedwell said:
Using the word "illegal" implies government intervention. I strongly oppose this. Products should find their price and quality niche in an open market. This benefits everyone. When the demand for high quality coffee is high, such as it is today, it has a positive affect on price for the growers. Grower organizations in Hawaii have the right to establish standards which I think is a good thing. To say that Kona should be treated differently than African, South American or any other area's coffees is ridiculous. Frankly I have never understood the big deal about Kona coffee compared to Ethiopian, Kenyan and South American. I wouldn't buy it for myself. Just my take.
Sorry, but your using the FDA in support of your argument to battle the Kona 10% issue is off the mark. Your own citing said: ...The F.D.A. said that the labels of some Nestlé Juicy Juice products implied they were primarily made of a single juice, like orange or tangerine, rather than a flavored blend of juices."

This seems very clear the FDA was going after a label implying something was primarily one thing when it was in fact a blend of primarily something else. The Hawaiian law requiring the percentage of Kona in for examaple a 10% Kona Coffee Blend clearly fulfills the goal of indentifying that it is not 100% Kona, but 10% Kona. And yes, the other 90% has to be coffee (not chicory or cedar bark or what ever) or the label would then be required to state it's other ingredient(s). Coffee is coffee to the FDA be it Kona or some other coffee origin. Agreed labeling law does not require stating what the non-Kona coffee in the blend is, just like any other coffee blend doesn't require it's origins be identified. But to imply since the non-Kona coffee origin doesn't have to be specified means it can then be something other than coffee is absurd.

Joachim Oster said:
Mike, it's not the first time that a state law doesn't comply with federal law. Case with e.g. 20% Oahu Coffee Blend: The customer has no way of finding out what 80% else is in the bag. Coffee maybe? Maybe not? That's consumers deception, plain and simple. And that's what the FDA is now going after. The difference that the blend lobby in the state got away with it, is because the FDA didn't do anything on that scale since 1990 (around the time when the HAwaii coffee blend laws were imperfectly installed). It is not of importance for educated consumers or business insiders like you and me - its about naive, uninformed consumer protection.

miKe mcKoffee aka Mike McGinness said:
I disagree, Mike. The clear and identifiable content description of juices, the correct declaration of the appellation of wine on a label, the origin of a cigar or a particular fish or strawberry, and therefore also the legal protection of a coffee growing region are all within the FDA and the FTC's authority.

Fair Packaging and Labeling Act
TITLE 15 - COMMERCE AND TRADE
CHAPTER 39 - FAIR PACKAGING AND LABELING PROGRAM
§1451. Congressional Delegation of Policy.
Informed consumers are essential to the fair and efficient functioning of a free market economy. Packages and their labels should enable consumers to obtain accurate information as to the quantity of the contents and should facilitate value comparisons. Therefore, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the Congress to assist consumers and manufacturers in reaching these goals in the marketing of consumer goods.

The facilitation of value comparisons btw a 10% Kona coffee containing unit, 100% Kona coffee unit, regular 100% arabica coffee unit show that either the unidentified 90% of a 10% Kona Coffee Blend, or the 10% Kona coffee beans contained are vastly overpriced. The consumer can obviously not comprehend the deception.

§1453. Requirements of Labeling; Placement, Form, and Contents of Statement of Quantity; Supplemental Statement of Quantity.
...supplemental statements of net quantity of contents shall not include any term qualifying a unit of weight or mass, measure, or count that tends to exaggerate the amount of the commodity contained in the package.


The "10% KONA" in the wording 10% KONA COFFEE BLEND, as it is required currently by state law, illegally exaggerates the smaller amount of a part of the contained commodity (coffee) by placing it prominently and first. It is further exaggerated in its importance by omitting the descriptor of 90% of other origins of the contained commodity completely.

The customer is therefore not able to get any additional information to what 10% Kona identifies.


§1461. Effect Upon State Law.
It is hereby declared that it is the express intent of Congress to supersede any and all laws of the States....



TITLE 16--COMMERCIAL PRACTICES
CHAPTER I--FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
PART 500--REGULATIONS UNDER SECTION 4
OF THE FAIR PACKAGING AND LABELING ACT

Sec. 500.4 Statement of identity
(d) The specification of identity shall not be false, misleading, or deceptive in any respect. Ingredients or components which are not present in the commodity in a substantial or significantly effective amount may not be mentioned in the specification of identity;...

Can't get clearer than that!

Sec. 500.6 Net quantity of contents declaration, location.
(b) The declaration of net quantity shall appear as a distinct item on the principal display panel,... ...shall not include any term qualifying a unit of weight or mass, measure, or count such as "jumbo quart," "giant liter," "full gallon," "when packed," "minimum," or words of similar import.


'10% Kona' phrase is used today in the same way as 'Jumbo Quart' fooled our moms under LB Johnson in 1966.

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