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Trouble Brewing With Hawaiian Coffee Makers


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Trouble Brewing With Hawaiian Coffee Makers

Hawaiian coffee growers have filed a $5 million lawsuit against Safeway for inaccurately describing the contents of its coffee on product labels.

Safeway sells Kona coffee that says it's from the Island of Hawaii, even though only a certain percent of the product is brewed in the state. The Kona Coffee Farmers Association claims this tarnishes the brewers in the state because it devalues their product, which consists entirely of Kona, Forbes reports.

Earlier this year, the Hawaiian farmers rallied for a boycott of Safeway stores after the product's mislabeling was first discovered. A law in Hawaii requires manufacturers to specify the percentage of locally grown coffee in a blend, but because Safeway doesn't sell the product in the state, the company doesn't have to comply.

Still, Safeway offered to voluntarily modify its label, but the Hawaiian farmers weren't content with the changes and moved forward with a lawsuit on August 30. Chanee Thurston, a coffee drinker who said she wouldn't have purchased the Safeway product had she known it was lower quality, is listed as the plaintiff, though the farmers insist the lawsuit is on the behalf of all consumers.

"[The Safeway Kona coffee affects Hawaiian coffee growers'] livelihoods and how their product is viewed in the world," Linder Spielberg, the plaintiffs' attorney, told the news source.

When developing any product, it's crucial that manufacturers observe relevant regulations pertaining to labeling. This will help them avoid future legal hassles and any costs associated with product redesigns.