Dairy Food Safety Alliance formed in Wisconsin

By Beth Newhart

- Last updated on GMT

The first meeting of the alliance will be on October 8, 2018 in Madison, Wisc.
The first meeting of the alliance will be on October 8, 2018 in Madison, Wisc.

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The Center for Dairy Research (CDR), the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin (DFW) and the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) have come together to form the Dairy Food Safety Alliance to serve the Wisconsin dairy industry.

The alliance will link up the existing organizations to convey the newest food safety news to dairy product manufacturers, processors and their suppliers in Wisconsin. Membership is open to all involved in the local dairy industry regardless of participation in other dairy groups.

The Dairy Food Safety Alliance comes as a result of a project the CDR and WCMA have been partnered on for the past two years. The Artisan Dairy Food Safety Initiative, also supported by DFW, provided Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) training and on-site consultations to more than 80 dairy manufacturers and processors in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.

The first meeting of the alliance will be on October 8, 2018 in Madison, Wisc. It will then meet twice per year moving forward. The US Department of Agriculture, the US Food and Drug Administration, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection and other leaders in the food safety and quality assurance field are all expected to speak at, and feature in, the meetings.

WCMA Executive Director John Umhoefer said, “New regulations and the recent uptick in food recalls have cheesemakers devoting more time and resources than ever to food safety efforts. Our organizations aim to provide the support members need not only to meet the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act, but also to maintain and enhance the industry’s reputation for quality.”

The WCMA was founded more than 100 years ago and serves cheesemakers, buttermakers and whey processors. It acts as a networking hub for its members as well as a source of industry news and information by providing educational programming.

Marianne Smukowski, CDR Outreach Program Manager, said, “Wisconsin dairy manufacturers are leading the charge on FSMA, thanks in part to the wealth of training that’s available to them via our organizations. Over the past two years, we’ve helped dozens of cheesemakers develop and implement their FSMA plans, and we’re here to support them through inspections and regulatory changes, too.”

The CDR is a part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. More than 30 researchers and scientists work out of the licensed and operating dairy plant on the university’s campus, assisting the dairy industry in developing and testing dairy products.

Adam Brock, DFW Director of Food Safety, Quality and Regulatory Compliance, said, “Food safety best practices should be no secret, and collaboration among organizations is critical to ensure food safety throughout the supply-chain.”

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