Cheese Bytes Masthead 2010
In This Issue...
ACS Board Nominations
New ACS Member Decals
2014 Registration Winner
ACS at Fancy Food Shows
Cheese in the News
Member Milestones
Ringing in a New Year
Regulatory News
Seeding the Future of American Cheese Education
Say Gazta!
Rush to Judgment (But Not So Fast)
CCP Application Tips
Stay Connected to ACS

ACS Board of Directors is Seeking Nominations 


The ACS Board of Directors is an active and dynamic group that is deeply committed to the vision of the organization: to be the leader in supporting and promoting American cheeses. The Board is tasked with fiduciary oversight and the long term strategic growth of the organization. Board members take an active role as leaders advising on matters of strategic import and organizational policy, serving on committees and task forces, and working with staff and volunteers to foster a vibrant, knowledgeable, and passionate cheese community.

The ACS Nominating Committee is seeking nominations for the Board.

The Committee has identified a number of desired attributes that will be part of the selection process. Potential nominees should possess demonstrated leadership commitment and involvement with ACS and the cheese community; relevant expertise in the industry and in the disciplines of organizational management; positive leadership attributes; and a strong commitment to uphold the vision, spirit, and ideals of the American Cheese Society.


Learn more about the nomination process and Board member responsibilities here. If you or someone you know would be a strong candidate, please email a letter of nomination to ACS.


Showcase Your ACS Pride with a New Member Decal!
In 2014, all ACS members will receive a new ACS window decal (shown above). This removable static-cling decal can be displayed in the window of your retail shop, creamery, or even your car.
Extra decals may be purchased on the ACS website starting next month; check the January edition of CheeseBytes for more details!

2014 ACS Conference Registration Winner


ACS has randomly selected a winner of a complimentary 2014 Conference registration from among the individuals who completed the annual ACS Member Survey. 
Congratulations to Amy Turnbull of Willapa Hills Cheese! We look forward to seeing you in Sacramento. 

Look for ACS Members at Winter Fancy Food Show!

Don't miss the ACS member pavilion in the South Hall of Moscone Center during the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco! ACS members will be exhibiting in and around this pavilion, and ACS staff will be on-hand at booth #5017 to share information about our programs and events.
To exhibit in the ACS member pavilion at the Summer Fancy Food Show, be sure to request a space in this area from your Specialty Food Association representative. Space is limited.
Cheese in the News
Member Milestones
Up in Smoke is Best American Cheese at World Cheese Awards


"It's Not You, It's Brie" Cheese Club Launches 


Ringing in a New Year


Happy holiday season to all our 'Cheesies' from the staff and Board of ACS! This has been a banner year for our organization and our industry. On so many levels we have good reason to be proud and optimistic and grateful. I, for one, am especially grateful for our amazing staff, board, and incredibly talented volunteer committees -- and for the commitment of our many members and stakeholders. 

After a record-setting conference in Madison in terms of attendance, Judging & Competition entries, and CCP Exam-takers, we have continued to work within our committees to establish best practices for producer and retailer members, and we're on track to deliver in the new year. Our cheesemaker members continue to wow the world at international competitions and festivals while working to establish off-shore markets for their products. The rest of our supply chain has continued to raise the bar in terms of points of distribution, sales, and education, which continues to create increased demand for cheese produced in the Americas.

By creating or expanding partnerships with allied industry organizations such as the Specialty Food Association, The Dairy Practices Council, the Specialist Cheese Makers Association of the UK, the Brewers Association, and the newly formed US Association of Cider Makers, we are charting a collaborative course toward providing the safest, broadest array of products for the market, along with the requisite consumer education and awareness that bodes well for the future.

There have been challenges for our industry, and they remain. The US regulatory environment at the moment is highly dynamic, with change afoot in the weeks and months to come. Please read through several important regulatory updates below, and know that ACS's staff, committees, and board remain committed to engaging at every level with governmental, academic, and related industries/organizations to proactively anticipate and shape change wherever we can. By establishing and adhering to best practices and certifying more and more of our industry professionals, we send a strong signal that ACS is leading our industry in making the production of artisan and specialty cheese ever safer.
Please be a part of this effort. With board nominations now open (see left), please consider serving our organization in this important way. We need a broad range of skill sets and backgrounds, with geographic and industry sector diversity. If you have interest in discussing board service, reach out to me or any of the other board members via our website, and we would be happy to speak with you.

In the meantime, let's bring this holiday season to the finish line and then take some time to enjoy friends, family, and food! We hope to see you in San Francisco this January at the ACS Pavilion at the Winter Fancy Food Show, as well as at the Good Food Awards and the new Winter Cheesemonger Invitational!
Thanks for your support and membership this past year. Wishing you and yours peace and happiness for the season and the upcoming year!
Warm Regards,

Greg O'Neill
Regulatory News & Updates  


FDA Launches Pilot Program to Test Domestic & Imported Raw Milk Cheese

On December 20, ACS shared a Member Alert on a new FDA pilot program to sample and test domestic and imported raw milk cheeses aged at least 60 days for salmonella, L. monocytogenes, and E. coli O157:H7. This program will launch in January 2014. Read the Member Alert to learn more about the pilot program. 


FDA Publishes Proposed Regulation on Intentional Contamination

As part of its implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), FDA has published a proposed regulation on Intentional Contamination to the Federal Register. The proposed regulation would require certain companies that process food to establish a written food defense program that includes actionable steps and strategies to significantly reduce or eliminate intentional contamination of raw materials, packaging, in-process product, and finished products. Click here for details about how the proposed regulation may affect dairy farms and other processing plants, or see FDA's Fact Sheet. The public may comment on the proposed regulation via the Federal Register through March 31.

"You Spoke. We Heard You." Farmers' Input Helps Bring FSMA Change
Michael Taylor, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, recently announced that FDA plans to revise language in proposed FSMA rules affecting farmers based on feedback from industry members. In a statement, Taylor said, "Based on our discussions with farmers, the research community and other input we have received, we have learned a great deal, and our thinking has evolved. Everyone shares the goal of ensuring produce safety, but, as we said at the beginning of the process, the new safety standards must be flexible enough to accommodate reasonably the great diversity of the produce sector, and they must be practical to implement."  A blog post by Taylor indicates that the revised language will be published for public comment by early summer.
Seeding the Future of American Cheese Education


As the year comes to an end, many of us are thinking about last-minute giving (taxes, anyone?). If you're one of those, please consider including the 501c3 American Cheese Education (ACE) Foundation in your annual giving. The ACE Foundation is poised to make strides in 2014 because of the initiatives and goals the Foundation's board established at the ACS Conference in Madison.


What is that mission? Here's how we defined it: The ACE Foundation was created to educate people about the art and science of specialty cheese. We fund education, scholarships, research, and learning about American cheeses.


Part and parcel of this is our goal to provide sustainable funding and resources for education on all facets of American specialty cheese. To this end, we funded a trip by members of the Regulatory & Academic Committee to attend a Dairy Practices Council conference, plus eight 2013 conference scholarships for cheesemakers and students. Now, we are looking to give away even more money in the coming year and beyond. In addition, our hope is to apply for grant money for new, targeted projects and create new scholarships, all in the name of education.


As you may know, the ACE Foundation houses the Daphne Zepos Teaching Award (DZTA). The DZTA committee has been raising funds to carry out Daphne's wish of funding one person to go overseas each year to pursue their specific cheese interest. Jess Perrie, the first recipient, heads to Spain in April! This sets a great example for what the ACE Foundation can accomplish.


The possibilities for the ACE Foundation are truly limitless. Because of that, I hope you'll consider seeding the future of American cheese education by way of the Foundation and, in so doing, make it a place where you can leave your legacy.


Happy New Year! 


Laura Werlin

ACE Foundation President


Say Gazta!


Jess Perrie, the first recipient of the Daphne Zepos Teaching Award (DZTA), is heading to the Basque region of Spain from April 1 - 16, 2014. She will be learning about traditional Basque cheesemaking techniques and how to create cheese in an arid landscape that is similar to that of the western United States.


The DZTA is an annual scholarship given to a food industry professional to further their learning -- and their ability to educate others -- about cheese. It's named in honor of Daphne Zepos, one of America's most inspiring cheese teachers.


Jess received the DZTA at the 2013 ACS Annual Conference, and she has been busy planning her trip since. She will be visiting Barcelona, Vitoria Gasteize / University of Basque, Bilbao, and perhaps Girona. Jess chose to travel to Spain because of her interest in the Basque populations in the western U.S. "There is a deep connection between food and tradition in the Basque...[continue reading]


Rush to Judgment (But Not So Fast)


As we approach a new year, our thoughts turn to family and friends. Recently, the Judging & Competition Committee wrapped up our last call of the year. The main topic on the agenda was to take on the selection of judges for the 2014 Judging & Competition in Sacramento. This year, we are looking for 19 teams of judges. Finding these 38 qualified individuals is a goal that we'd like to accomplish sooner rather than later. With that said, it is not a quick process.


This year, we were approached by a number of individuals who expressed to us that they would like to judge in 2014. This is another sign that the ACS Judging & Competition is capturing the attention of people from here and abroad. The process of selection usually begins after the New Year, but we are making a concerted effort to stay ahead of the curve.


So, what are the criteria for becoming a judge? The quick answer might be that you must love cheese. If it were as simple as that, however, we would have hundreds of applicants. The more involved answer is that you must be a cheese professional with years of experience... [continue reading] 


ACS CCP™ Exam Eligibility & Application Tips


The next ACS Certified Cheese Professional Exam is scheduled for Tuesday, July 29, 2014 in Sacramento, CA. The exam is rigorous, and applicants must demonstrate both knowledge and experience in order to qualify to take it.


Applications for the 2014 exam are due by end of business day on March 31. No applications will be accepted for the 2014 exam after this date, although ACS will continue to accept applications on a rolling basis for future exam dates.


This year, ACS has received a number of incomplete applications for the exam, as well as applications that were submitted without a $35 application fee. If an application is incomplete, the applicant receives an email outlining any missing information, and the date by which that information must be provided to ACS. If the requested information is not received by the date specified, the application is denied. If the applicant would like to apply again, a new application must be filled out (with an additional application fee paid).


So, what can you do to avoid having to reapply for the exam or pay an additional application fee? All candidates must...[continue reading]


Connect to ACS

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