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Friday, February 06, 2009

 

Disappeared news: why milk imported into Hawaii is re-pasteurized


by Larry Geller

A story in today’s Advertiser, Local milk back in stores, brings welcome news. An important piece of information was omitted, though, and it’s one you need to know about if you buy “local” milk at your favorite supermarket.

Hidden at the very end of the story continuation is this incomplete revelation:

Most milk imported from the Mainland, while it can be characterized as being produced locally because it is repasteurized in Hawai'i, cannot be labeled with the state's "Island Fresh" origin mark unless it contains at least 90 percent local milk.

Repasteurizing, or reprocessing, adds about eight days to the age of imported Mainland milk, which can be between 25 to 30 days old by the time it reaches its shelf expiration date.

What’s omitted is that the re-pasteurization is necessary because the milk is shipped to Hawaii in unrefrigerated containers.

Yes, and this information isn’t new, though it hasn’t been an issue in the newspapers. Why? Could it be that the reporter didn’t ask why “reprocessing” is necessary?

See:

Scary Dairy -- Frightening food news for Halloween, 10/30/2005

Scary Dairy revisited - Costco and organic milk probably ok, 11/5/2005

Costco carries 1% organic milk - shipped refrigerated, 3/11/2006

So now you have the scary picture: milk is shipped to Hawaii unrefrigerated, can be a month old at its expiration date, and of course sells for far more than folks on the Continent pay for a fresher, cleaner product. Ugh.

Whatever the little microbes did in the milk stays there, though they themselves are killed by the re-pasteurization before it is sold to you. Ugh.

The article doesn’t say whether Big Island milk is shipped to Oahu refrigerated. I hope the Advertiser will look into this.

I’m also curious about whether the Big Island dairies use hormones and antibiotics, of course, but that’s another topic.




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