Kona coffee industry at odds over new Hawaii law

HONOLULU (AP) - A group of mostly small-scale Kona coffee farmers wants to alert consumers that a new state law could affect the quality of Hawaii's premier specialty crop.

The Kona Coffee Farmers Association was dealt a massive setback when the governor enacted a law recently that the group claims takes away protections against counterfeiting Hawaii-grown coffee. Gov. Neil Abercrombie indicated that he would veto the bill, but after getting more information from others in the industry, he allowed it to become law earlier this month without his signature.

The law has divided a diverse industry that includes small and big farms, roasters and distributers.

The law does away with mandatory certification inspections of unroasted coffee leaving the region where it was grown.

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