POSTED: 6:50 p.m. HST, Feb 17, 2012
KAILUA-KONA >> A proposed bill that would eliminate inspection and certification requirements for green coffee beans shipped from Hawaii is pitting farmers against blenders.
West Hawaii Today reports the bill passed out of the House Agriculture Committee on Thursday. It would remove provisions put in place after a scandal in the 1990s where coffee grown in other regions outside of Hawaii were labeled and sold as Kona coffee.
Blender Hawaii Coffee Co. President Jim Wayman says there are concerns about delays from waiting for a state inspector to grade and certify the coffee.
Farmer Bruce Corker says the Department of Agriculture should hire more inspectors and that buyers on the mainland and overseas won't have assurances they are getting genuine Hawaii-grown coffee.