WASHINGTON -- Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, struck a blow for fresh milk drinkers in the armed forces Friday and gave Hawaiian and Alaskan dairy producers a boost at the same time.
Inouye convinced the Senate's defense appropriations subcommittee to accept an amendment to cure what he said was a problem of milk from the mainland arriving at Hawaiian and Alaskan military bases sour.
The milk must be poured out but the government still has to pay for it.
'We want our men and women (in the military) to consume sweet milk, not rancid milk,' Inouye told the panel.
Technically, if Inouye's amendent is enacted it would bar the use of government money to buy, ship or accept fresh milk pasteurized more than 72 hours before it was accepted for distribution at any base within the 50 states.
Inouye argued that thousands of gallons of milk shipped from the mainland have to be dumped because the shipments arrive sour. Shipments typically take five days, but Inouye said some is showing up eight days after pasteurization and must be thrown out.
An aide said later both Hawaiian and Alaskan dairy producers, who must pay to have feed grains shipped in, produce milk that costs just slightly more than milk from the mainland. They run the risk of being put out of business by mainland dairies that could then raise the price, the aide said.
There is sufficient milk production capacity in Hawaii to handle both military and civilian sales, said the aide.
The aide said the cost of Hawaiian-produced milk is not significantly higher than mainland milk, but that could be balanced against the mainland milk the government buys but must pour out because it has spoiled.