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?


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.


Larry, I did not know this. I swear there were a few times I got sick from milk over the past few years, but wasn't sure of it and did not know about this. After reading your articles, I'm gonna change to those that are organic and keep it refrigerated. Mahalo, Brad

Back in 2005 I was only writing the Free Range Gourmet blog. It was this series of articles on unrefrigerated milk, actually, that gave me the idea to start Disappeared News.

Some news that we don't see is political, some is just plain disgusting.

I'm wondering what to do with info I have about certain restaurant's sanitary conditions, and I use that term loosely, because I'm concerned about getting sued. Should the info be revealed to the public? I think it should.

Doesn't the Health Dept. or some agency like that inspect for this? Could you not just file a report to them? Is there such a county or state agency with that responsibility here?

Do you mean about the restaurants? Yes, there are supposed to be inspections, but a recent newspaper article points out that there are very few. I took some videos with my cameraphone for a report, but the videos were too crummy so I have to try again.

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