The Governor signed the Administrative Rules for Hawaii-Grown Cacao and Hawaiian Chocolate Products and they have gone into effect as of November 10, 2016. A copy of the rules can be found by clicking here. The rules apply to the use of specific geographic origins, including the state of Hawaii and the individual islands, Oahu, Hawaii Island, Maui, Kauai, and Molokai, in product labeling and advertising. Anyone using identity statements claiming chocolate made from any of these geographic origins must be using 100% cacao grown in the claimed origin. There is no blending permitted unless the product is labeled Hawaii cacao blend chocolate and then no less than 51 % of the cacao must be grown in Hawaii regardless of island. The Administrative Rules further require anyone manufacturing or packaging cacao or chocolate products to maintain records on the weight and geographic origins of cacao beans purchased and sold. These records must be kept for two years and made available to the Department of Agriculture for inspection or copying if requested.
At the annual HCCA conference in Hilo on March 12, Gunars Valkirs discussed the Administrative Rules and provided examples of identity statements and other aspects of labeling that are in compliance with these rules, as well examples of non-compliant situations. The HCCA will examine any product labeling or advertising that may be out of compliance with the rules if requested by a concerned member before making a recommendation on whether the Department of Agriculture should be notified. Actual examples of products and advertising must be provided if the matter is referred to the Department of Agriculture. Anyone wishing to submit their product labeling or advertising copy to the Department of Agriculture prior to its use in commerce can submit proofs directly to Jeri Kahana at the Department of Agriculture ( Jeri.M.Kahana@hawaii.gov ) for their review.