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Hawaii DOA Hearings for Hawaii-grown Cacao and Chocolate Labeling Rules

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture held hearings across the Islands July 1-8 to discuss the proposed labeling rules. HCCA has been working with the DOA on this Hawaii-grown cacao labeling initiative and members provided testimony to support the proposed rules. This was the culmination of a lot of hard work by the association over the past several years. HCCA President Gunars Valkirs attended most of the hearings to provide testimony. A written version can be found here. He emphasized the importance of protecting the future of the Hawaii cacao and chocolate industry. Requiring Hawaiian chocolate to be made from a higher percentage of Hawaiian cacao ensures that Hawaiian cacao growers and chocolate makers have a better opportunity in the marketplace and for product positioning.

What's Next?

Following the hearings, Jeri Kahana, who conducted the hearings for the DOA, will prepare her report which is slated to be reviewed and approved at the August  DOA board meeting.  Upon approval, it will it go to the Governor's office for signature and will then become enforceable.  


The burden of enforcement largely is largely borne by the Hawaii-grown chocolate industry because the DOA needs physical proof to act upon a violation and they do not have enough inspectors to constantly survey products for compliance.  Actual products that are not in compliance with the rules should be identified and sent to the DOA so that they will then investigate.  This also requires that everyone become knowledgeable of the rules and their limits. The rules can be reviewed here. Just as developing the rules was a collaborative effort, enforcement of them will also be a team effort for the Association membership and all growers and chocolate makers in Hawaii. 


Become an HCCA member or renew your membership

Become a member or renew your membership with the Hawaii Chocolate and Cacao Association for benefits including invitations to meetings and networking events, industry promotion, discounts, member newsletter, education material, and more. As an active member you will receive a member discount on future conference and event registrations. Your membership is an opportunity to save while continuing to support HCCA! More information available on the Members page.

Already a member and want to be more active with HCCA? Get involved and participate in one of our many committees including Education, Legislation, Membership, Marketing, Fundraising, and more to help shape the future of our industry. Send an email to and let us know what you are interested in and how you would like to help. Mahalo!


Hawaiian Grown Cacao - Hawaii Chocolate and Cacao Association

Membership Benefits:

Legislative Strength

The Hawaii Chocolate and Cacao Association acts as the industry’s voice on legislative issues. Members are active in lobbying legislators and influencing  legislation that affects the chocolate industry.

Industry Networking

Annual Conference and Educational Opportunities for Growers and Farmers
During the annual HCCA Conference a variety of current issues in farming, production, manufacture and retail are presented by guest speakers and relevant industry information is shared among members. At other times field trips and workshops provide educational opportunities for growers and manufacturers.

General Membership Meetings

Annual general membership meeting are held during the HCCA Conference each year in February. Other networking opportunities may be arrangend at events during the year.

Statewide Educational Outreach

HCCA participates in a variety of educational and promotional activities during the year including The Hawaii Chocolate Festival, Agriculture Day at the Capital, the Maui County Agriculture Festival,  The Hawaii Cacao Festival and various Farmers Markets and Culinary Festivals around the state.

Additional Benefits

The HCCA Newsletter provides quarterly communication with members providing legislative updates, spotlighting upcoming events, industry news, member profiles and other relevant information of the


A users agreement providing guidelines for use will soon be available to Members interested in using the HCCA logo for promotional purposes (i.e. on packaging, Point of Sale material, website or other commercial applications)  Displaying this symbol demonstrates commitment to the standards and policies of the HCCA and will serve to promote awareness and strengthen the brand value of the Hawaii Chocolate and Cacao Association including our members products and services .