Cheese Bytes Masthead 2010
In This Issue...
FDA to Increase Cheesemaker Inspections
Reserve Space at the Summer Fancy Food Show
Are Your Events on the ACM Calendar?
Halloween Recipes
Member Milestones
Cheese in the News
Our Moment to Shine
Planning for LegenDAIRY
FDA Delays FSMA Registration
NASFT Special Offer for ACS Members
Ask Dr. Cheese: Trying Blues on for Size
CCPs Gather in Florida
FDA Budgeted to Inspect 246 Artisan Cheesemakers 


ACS would like to remind our members that, at the ACS Conference in Raleigh, the FDA announced plans to conduct 246 new inspections of artisan cheesemaking facilities in their new fiscal year, which began October 1. Please review the  FDA's website to help prepare for such inspections, as this is a critical matter that should be closely followed by ACS members.

If you are inspected by the FDA or its affiliates, please let ACS know by calling 720-328-2788 or emailing Executive Director Nora Weiser.  

Summer Fancy Food Show Space in the ACS Pavilion is Limited: Reserve Now! 

Spaces in the ACS Pavilion at the NASFT Summer Fancy Food Show are nearly filled to capacity! If you're interested in reserving a space to exhibit within this special area designated exclusively for ACS members, contact your NASFT representative as soon as possible, or visit the NASFT website to learn more. 


Are Your October Events On the American Cheese Month Online Calendar? 

American Cheese Month is well underway, and ACS is thrilled with the number of events taking place around the country this year. To give us an accurate count of events taking place this October, please remember to add your October events (even if they have already taken place) to the American Cheese Month calendar. Adding your events is easy: simply click here!   


Recipes for Halloween


Halloween is just around the corner. As the end-cap to American Cheese Month, it's the perfect time to incorporate cheese into your festive menu. Try some of these Halloween- themed recipes for yourself! 

Cheese in the News

In Cyprus, New Cheese Edict Gets the Goat of Dairy Farmers, Wall Street Journal, Oct 11

Go Ahead, Milk My Day, New York Times, Oct 11

Our Moment to Shine

By now, I hope you're in the midst of American Cheese Month (ACM) celebrations, as we are here in Chicago! In only its second year, ACM is taking off with events, tastings, blog posts and a host of other cheesy activities. It's not too late to organize or create an event. Need ideas? Check out the ACM website. To get the ball rolling, ACS served over 650 lbs of our members' cheese to nearly 50,000 attendees at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, organized by the Brewers Association -- a strategic alliance partner of ACS. What a wonderful way to raise the profile of American-made cheese: with American-made brews, both of the highest quality!


Between now and next summer, we as an organization and industry have much on our proverbial plates, with food safety and regulatory issues taking center stage. If you have not had a regulatory visit from the FDA or their affiliates, chances are good that you will -- and ACS wants you to be prepared to not only meet but exceed their expectations and standards. Do you have your food safety plans in place? If not, please be sure to access the Member Resources area of our website for some helpful resources.


If you are a retailer, having a full food safety plan in place including SOP's, sanitation, receiving, and traceability procedures is important to ensure that you are operating at the highest standards. Look for ACS to release more helpful retailer-oriented materials in the coming weeks to help you plan effectively. While these resources are not meant to be exhaustive and can never account for all possibilities, they represent the hard work of generous and thoughtful ACS and industry colleagues! Remember, whether you are a producer, distributor, or retailer, collaboratively engaging with our regulatory partners in the age of the Food Safety Modernization Act makes good sense for all.


If you are visited by inspectors, please be so kind as to inform Nora Weiser, our Executive Director, to share your experience. This will help ACS stay on top of inspection trends and data.


Heading into the busy fourth quarter, our attention turns to providing consumers with delicious cheese made and sold in a way that upholds the highest standards. We have every reason to be proud of American cheese, and American Cheese Month is our moment to shine. Enjoy!


Greg O'Neill



LegenDAIRY: ACS 30th Anniversary

Nora Weiser-New Photo


Raleigh was a wonderfully welcoming host city for ACS's Annual Conference & Competition this year, and from the look of our post-conference survey results, attendees had a great time! Your feedback on events and education sets the bar high for next year's event in Madison, WI -- appropriately themed LegenDAIRY: ACS 30th Anniversary! With Wisconsin's rich dairy heritage and close proximity to so many of our major Midwest markets and ACS producers, it promises to be well-attended. Be sure to register early next spring so you can fully partake in this milestone event. 


Not only will Madison be a great city to host ACS, but the educational lineup promises to be stellar. We received a record 84 presentation proposals for the Madison conference, which our Conference Program Group has pored over to construct the very highest quality educational sessions for you in Madison. Our thanks go out to our Marquee Sponsor, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, and the many other sponsors who have already made generous commitments to support our efforts in Madison next summer. If you would like to support this anniversary conference as a sponsor, I encourage you to reserve your spot early




Nora Weiser

ACS Executive Director  


FDA Delays Required Registration Under FSMA  


The Food Safety Modernization Act includes new registration requirements for members of the food industry. These new requirements affect all food facilities -- including those that had previously registered with the FDA -- that export or distribute food in the United States. Registration was set to begin on October 1, 2012 and end on December 31, 2012. However, according to FDA officials in a recent conference call in which ACS participated, the FDA is experiencing a "complicated delay," and registration is not currently available. It is still unclear when registration will begin, or if the closing date will be extended past the original December 31 deadline.


Note that once registration does begin, the FDA requires that all food facilities register, even if they have previously registered. This includes farms and retailers. By registering, an organization indicates to the FDA that it has a food safety plan, and is doing everything possible to prevent contaminated food or feed from entering the supply chain. Registration will need to be updated every 2 years.  


Stay informed by visiting the FDA's website and continuing to read our monthly CheeseBytes newsletter for the latest updates. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the FDA directly, or contact ACS.  


Also, please remember that the FDA has budgeted to inspect 246 artisan cheesemaking facilities in its new fiscal year, which began October 1. See the sidebar at upper left for more information about these plans.


NASFT Special Offer for ACS Members   


Through ACS's ongoing alliance with the National Association for Specialty Food Trade (NASFT), two valuable resource manuals have been made available to ACS members at a substantial discount -- 80% off. To learn more about these manuals and to take advantage of the discount price of $40 each (regular price $200 each), visit the NASFT website and use discount code ACS12.

  • The NASFT Traceability Manual provides critical information on product tracking for domestic specialty food producers under the Bioterrorism Act, examining the "how-to" steps of tracing a product's origin one step back (incoming product) and one step forward (outgoing product) as well as options for building your own simple system and sample forms.  
  • The NASFT Recall Manual (link to below) is the first of its kind for the specialty food industry providing a thorough primer on food safety and product recalls in the specialty food industry.

If you have any questions about this offer, please contact [email protected].


ACS Samples 650+ Pounds of Cheese at GABF  


This past weekend, ACS staff and volunteers sampled cheese to 49,000 beer enthusiasts at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver. GABF, which is the largest ticketed beer event in the country, played host to approximately 580 breweries -- and for the third year in a row, ACS served as the event's exclusive artisan cheese partner. We sampled over 70 different cheeses donated from 38 cheesemakers, totaling over 650 pounds of cheese.  


Excited beer lovers waited in line for an opportunity to taste cheeses made by ACS member-cheesemakers. Soft, hard, fresh, and aged cheeses were paired with a variety of beers that complemented their flavors and aromas. In addition to running the booth, the ACS team also assisted in pairing cheesemakers with regional brewpubs in the new GABF Brewpub Pavilion. 


Also at GABF, ACS Certified Cheese Professional Suzanne Wolcott paired four cheeses with craft beers in a video that will soon be featured on See a photo from the video shoot, and see if you can guess which cheeses she used in the pairings! Certified Cheese Professional Michael Landis also participated in GABF, hosting a beer and cheese pairing session featuring Uinta Brewing Company beers with five cheeses from ACS members. Along many talented volunteers, we were also joined by Certified Cheese Professional John Balmer of Whole Foods Market, who assisted with the preparation and serving of our fabulous selection of cheeses.  


ACS would like to thank all of the cheesemakers and specialty food producers who donated products to GABF. We are also incredibly grateful for the support of our many volunteers for making GABF a successful and enjoyable event -- along with an incredible way to expose people to ACS and its members' products.   


Check out our photo album from GABF to see images from this year's event!


Ask Dr. Cheese: Trying Blues on for Size 


Blue cheeses come in a range of sizes and formats, from 10-ounce wheels of Saga Baby Blue to the 25-pound Gorgonzola Dolce. What impact does cheese size and shape have on the development of blue veining? In this interview with San Francisco Chronicle cheese columnist Janet Fletcher, consultant Neville McNaughton of CheezSorce explores some of these technical issues.


Q: Can blue cheese be made in any size?


A: There are no short answers to a question like that. You have to style the cultures to fit the needs. How is Gorgonzola Dolce able to be as big as it is, to have the dimensions it has? Because they choose less aggressive molds and starter cultures. When you don't have the inhibitory effect of salt in a large format, you need to have mild blue cultures.


Q: A little more, please, on that relationship between salting and format?


I'm a fan of Fourme d'Ambert so let's look at that. It's about 120 millimeters (4.75 inches) in diameter, so the distance the salt has to travel is less than 3 inches. Even Danish Blue doesn't have more than 3 inches to the center...(read more!)


ACS CCPs Gather in Florida

A group of ACS Certified Cheese Professionals™ gathered for a photo op with David Gremmels of Rogue Creamery at an Atlanta Foods International Institut du Fromage session in Florida.

From left to right are: David Gremmels and CCPs Barbara Gramigni, Michael Landis, Janet Ribera, Kimberly Blanco, Erika Carlson, Evan Brown, Joey Wells, Brian Welter, Hebe Denis, Amanda Puckett, Allison Young, and Kari Foley.

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