In This Issue...
Important ACS CCP News
Cheese Camp 2015 Preview
2015 Conference Scholarships
Warming Winter Dishes
Member Milestones
Cheese in the News
From the Food Safety Front
Judging & Competition News
Free Member Webinar for Cheesemakers
Member Profile: The Cheese Traveler
Featured Cheese: Marieke Goudas
Stay Connected to ACS


The 2015 CCP Exam is Full

Seats for the 2015 ACS Certified Cheese Professional Exam are now full. If you are interested in applying to take the exam, please note that you will be added to a wait list. Seats for the exam may become available and will be filled from the wait list on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and you may also choose to roll your application over to the next available exam date in 2016.

The exam fee ($500 for members, $650 for non-members) is due upon your approval for the exam. If you have been approved, please pay your fee as soon as possible.

2015 ACS CCP™ Authorized Educator Offerings

ACS CCP™ Authorized Educators offer education that aligns with any or all of the Body of Knowledge domains that are integral to the ACS CCP™ Exam. Check out the offerings available to exam-takers in 2015 by clicking on the educators' logos below, and contact these Authorized Educators directly to learn more:

ACS Cheese Camp 2015: A Conference Preview


The ACS Conference Program Group has finalized a stellar program for ACS Cheese Camp 2015: Craft, Creativity, Community in Providence, RI.


We are pleased to present a few highlights of the program, below. The full program and speaker roster will be posted to the ACS website in March. In the meantime, here's a glimpse of what's to come when ACS heads to Providence!

Save the date: Conference registration opens on May 4!


Apply for a 2015 Conference Scholarship by March 31!


Each year, ACS, in conjunction with the American Cheese Education Foundation and the John Crompton Memorial Scholarship Fund, awards full and partial scholarships to cheesemakers, retailers, students, and local chefs to attend the ACS Conference.


Full scholarship recipients receive 4 nights' hotel accommodation, up to $600 toward travel expenses, and a complimentary conference registration. Partial scholarship recipients receive a complimentary conference registration.


Download a scholarship application, and submit your application by March 31, 2015.


Warming Winter Dishes

Much of the country has been buried under snow in recent weeks, calling for warming dishes to keep the snow-bound satiated. Try one of these dishes the next time you're snowed in--they're sure to be comforting crowd pleasers!

from the New York Times

from Food & Wine


Member Milestones

Cheese in the News

 Letter from the President

Hello everyone,


I want to remind you of the great resources that the American Cheese Society has developed and makes available to all members on its website. The next time you visit, click on the Member Resources tab, and you will find the "Member's Toolbox" (see the screenshot below). Inside, you can access announcements of upcoming educational programs, an archive of past webinars that are still available for viewing, and more. Among other offerings, you'll find a membership directory and a Crisis Management Tool Kit, which is a good resource for all of us to have on hand. The website is ever evolving to bring more practical information to our cheese community, so check it out again if you haven't browsed it in a while.


Also, if you haven't had the opportunity to review the ACS Judging & Competition's updated entry requirements and definitions, I strongly encourage you to take a few minutes to do so. The Judging & Competition Committee has worked hard on these updates, to continue bringing transparency to the competition for members, as well as to strengthen our commitment to food safety for the judges and everyone who enjoys entries at the Brunch of Champions and the Festival of Cheese.




Peg Smith



To visit the Member's Toolbox on the ACS website, simply click on the red "Member Resources" tab at the top of the ACS homepage.


From the Food Safety Front


FDA, CDC, and USDA's FSIS have released a new report, "Foodborne Illness Source Attribution Estimates for Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157 (E. coli O157), Listeria monocytogenes (Lm), and Campylobacter using Outbreak Surveillance Data." The report seeks to assess the categories of food and pathogens most responsible for outbreaks and illnesses between 1998 - 2012.


Some key findings of the report include:

  • In total, 954 outbreaks caused by the four studied pathogens led to over 33,718 illnesses. Salmonella was responsible for 69% of these illnesses. 
  • 42% of all illnesses attributed to the report's four pathogens were linked to meat, poultry, and eggs; 38% to produce; and 14% to dairy products.
  • Produce led to 44% of Salmonella illnesses, with meat and poultry responsible for 28%. Dairy products were responsible for just 3% of Salmonella illnesses.
  • 47% of illnesses caused by E. coli O157 were linked to produce; 43% to meat and poultry; and 9% to dairy.
  • "While studies of sporadic campylobacteriosis find low attribution to dairy products, 60% of the 161 Campylobacter outbreaks in this analysis attributed to a single food category were associated with unpasteurized milk or cheese made from unpasteurized milk."
  • 41% of Listeria illnesses were attributed to produce, 32% to meat and poultry, and 28% to dairy. This indicates that Listeria contamination is distributed quite broadly among all food categories.
This report notes that a high number of Campylobacter outbreaks (60%) were associated with dairy products "largely, although not entirely, due to outbreaks associated with raw fluid milk or cheese produced from raw milk (e.g., unpasteurized queso fresco)." There is no data provided to distinguish between outbreaks caused by raw fluid milk and those caused by products made from raw milk. In addition, among raw milk cheeses that led to illnesses, as ACS mentioned in its 2012 response to an earlier CDC report, it would be valuable to know how many of the raw milk cheeses implicated in outbreaks were produced in licensed facilities, and in accordance with all regulations such as a minimum 60-day aging period. 

Nonetheless, it seems that this finding may have played a role in FDA's upcoming assignment which will focus on fresh, Hispanic-style cheeses. There are a vast variety of Hispanic cheeses, and it remains to be seen if FDA will narrow its focus further. ACS hopes that any results from this assignment clearly distinguish between products produced legally and according to all regulations, and those from unlicensed facilities. 


ACS will share additional updates with members as they become available.


Nora Weiser
Executive Director

ACS Judging & Competition News: An Explanation of

Changes to Category "T" - Washed Rind Cheeses for 2015


By John Greeley, ACS Judging Chair Emeritus


When the Judging & Competition (J&C) Committee removed the "T" Aged Sheep and "U" Aged Goat cheese categories in 2013, the Washed Rind Category became TA, TC, TG and TS.


The J&C Committee created the original "V" Washed Rind Category in 2003 as a remedy for cheesemakers who entered smear-ripened cheeses into the Soft Ripened Category "B." At that time, I was sure we had captured the essence of the cheese that starts out in the vat as soft ripened but develops with careful handling, control of time, acidity, and pH into full-flavored and aromatic curds quite different from their snow-white rinded cousins.


The original definition focused on Limburger and Pont-l'�v�que style cheese that used the traditional hand-smearing of Brevibacterium (B-linens) over the rind to ensure even coating/washing and were then ripened in an atmosphere dampened with spores. The result was a sticky rind, intense aromas, and soft 8 - 16 oz. cheeses.


We didn't see the need to add a recipe to the definition, so Washed Rind entries were:


"Cheeses with a rind or crust washed in salted brine, whey, beer, wine, or other alcohol or grape lees that exhibit an obvious smeared or sticky rind and/or crust."


But in 2008, we started to see entries that went beyond that simple direction. Cheeses formally entered into Category "D" - International Style/American Made and Category "M" - Farmstead, migrated in strong numbers over to Category "V" - Washed Rind Cheese. They ranged from 70 lb Gruyere to...[continue reading]


Cheesemakers: Don't Miss our Next FREE Webinar


Spring into the 2015 ACS Judging & Competition!


Led by John Greeley, Gourmet Foods International


Tuesday, March 10, 2015
9:30 AM - 11:00 AM MST


 Register Today


With spring fast approaching and the ACS Judging & Competition (J&C) Call for Entries just around the corner, the J&C Committee and a renowned team of judges are gearing up for another exciting year of evaluating your cheese and cultured dairy products. Join us for an in-depth look at the 2015 Category changes with a particular focus on the exciting changes to Category T (Washed Rind Cheese), an explanation of why the categories change each year, and what it takes to create and enter an American Original.


Join John Greeley, ACS Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and founding member of the ACS Judging & Competition, as he shares the history of how competition categories are created and reviewed each year. John will be joined by Tom Kooiman, ACS Judging & Competition Chair, and Dr. Stephanie Clark, ACS Judging & Competition Technical Advisor, to help answer your questions throughout the webinar. For those who are planning to enter the 2015 Judging & Competition, this is a webinar you won't want to miss!


Member Profile: The Cheese Traveler 


Use by permission of the Times Union, Albany, NY



The namesake product of Eric Paul's store is indulgent, unhealthful, expensive and arguably unnecessary. Paul's customers love him.


The shop, called the Cheese Traveler, opened in September 2012 and quickly became a destination despite carrying little more than cheese from around the world and meat raised on a local farm. The shelves and coolers have since become richer in variety, from cheese complements such as crackers and condiments to charcuterie, gourmet staples and curiosities including coconut-curry caramel corn.


But the Cheese Traveler, located at 540 Delaware Ave. in Albany [NY], is still a specialty shop, not a market to pop into on the way home to grab all the fixins for dinner. (It carries no vegetables, for starters.)


And yet, even facing a surge in area supermarkets with impressive, eclectic cheese selections, some twice as large as Paul's, his store has...[continue reading]


Featured Cheese: Holland's Family Cheese Marieke Goudas


By Marcella Wright, ACS CCP


In 2013, Marieke Penterman's "Marieke Gouda" won Grand Champion at the US Cheese Championship. This award came less than five years after she made her first wheel of Gouda on her farm in Wisconsin. Although not the first nor the last award, no doubt it was one of the highlights of her young Cheesemaker career. And this past month, Marieke won another prestigious award, "2015 Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmer of the Year."


Marieke was born and raised on a cow dairy farm in the Netherlands. She had planned to become a veterinarian however, to quote John Lennon, "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." During an internship in Canada, Marieke met her husband and while dating, his family bought a farm in Thorp, Wisconsin. The rest is cheesemaking history...[continue reading]


Connect to ACS

Stay connected to ACS no matter where you are! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@CheeseSociety, #ACSCheeseCamp), or LinkedIn. Get the latest updates from the cheese community, connect with fellow cheesemakers, retailers and enthusiasts, and tell us what's happening in your world.