The ‘Safeway Select Kona Blend’ saga continues.
Alerted to Safeway’s deceptive label by the Kona Coffee Farmers Association’s Resolution calling for a nationwide boycott, a Northern California consumer has filed a class-action lawsuit against Safeway.
The lawsuit, Thurston vs. Safeway, seeks $5 million in damages on behalf of all consumers who purchased the deceptively labeled Kona Blend coffee. It alleges that Safeway’s labeling violates California consumer protection and fair marketing laws.
The plaintiff, Chanee Thurston, states that she relied on Safeway’s representations that the Kona Blend Coffee was a ‘Kona Blend’ and on its additional statement ‘Revel in the unmatched taste of savory beans from Hawaii’s Big Island,’ and that she was misled because the label did not advise that the majority of the product was non-Kona coffee beans. Ms. Thurston says that she would not have purchased the Kona Blend product if she had known that it contained only a minimal amount of Kona coffee.
Kona’s farmers are interested in the court’s decision on the issues raised in the lawsuit — and particularly on the plaintiff’s assertion that selling a ‘Kona blend’ with less than 51% Kona is a violation of California law. It would be ironic if the Court finds that California law gives more protection for the name and reputation of Hawaii’s premier specialty agricultural crop — Kona Coffee — than does the State of Hawaii.
See the Associated Press article for more.