DASI Inc. of Chevy Chase has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Dairylea Cooperative Inc. of Pearl River, N.Y., to package, promote and distribute DASI-processed shelf-safe milk here and in 13 northeastern states.

The introduction of commercially viable shelf-safe milk in America was made possible by an ultra-high temperature, split-second purification process developed by DASI and tested by the University of Maryland and Ohio State University. Massive savings to both dairies and consumers through spoilage elimination and in reduced storage and transportation requirements are expected to result.

Shelf-safe milk has long been available in Europe, where it costs about 20 percent less than refrigerated milk and accounts for nearly a third of all milk sales. Previous UHT processes yielded shelf-safe milk with an unpleasant taste, but according to DASI board Chairman James F. Sams, "Milk sterilized by the DASI process has all the fresh flavor of conventionally pasteurized milk and none of the 'cooked' taste associated with earlier UHT processes."

Dairylea Chief Executive Officer Edgar T. Mertz said, "The DASI agreement will allow us to generate many more profitable outlets for our members' milk." Dairylea plans initially to use the DASI process to produce shelf-stable ice cream and shake mixes for fast-food chains.

Extensive testing of DASI-processed milk has shown it to have a shelf-life of more than two months. Comparisons conducted at Maryland's Department of Dairy Sciences found no discernible taste difference between UHT-treated milk and regular milk. More than 100,000 gallons of DASI-processed milk was sold as regular pasteurized milk, without complaint, during a four-year period, through the department's retail outlet.