Rob Shumaker has become the 2024 recipient of the International Dairy Foods Association Food Safety Leadership Award. Shumaker – who has worked with IDFA’s food safety committee and the University of Wisconsin to determine various safety and risk factors in cheese production – received the award during the trade body’s recently-held Dairy Forum. At Great Lakes Cheese, he serves as senior manager, corporate food safety and laboratory.
Shumaker’s work to critically evaluate risks associated with individual cheese varieties is said to help the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) refine which cheeses should be subject to regulation, including traceability requirements, to focus efforts on higher-risk cheeses rather than those that are intrinsically safe.
“This award is a testament to the unwavering commitment the industry and IDFA have made to ensuring the safety and quality of dairy products,” commented Shumaker. “I am deeply appreciative of the guidance and mentorship from industry partners, academia, and the management team and Epprecht family at Great Lakes Cheese. We remain steadfast in our pursuit of excellence and look forward to advancing food safety initiatives in the industry, supported by the collective efforts of our partners and colleagues.”
Edward Learoyd, vice-president, safety, food safety, quality and regulatory at Great Lakes Cheese, said: “To galvanize industry, academia, and regulators around a common agenda requires significant work, creativity, and solutions with benefits for all. We are so proud of Rob’s contribution. His relationships in the food and beverage industry are a testament to his work.”
“Rob’s work with IDFA’s Food Safety Committee and the University of Wisconsin to determine various food safety and risk factors in cheese production will refine which cheeses are subject to the federal government’s stringent food traceability requirements, benefitting both the dairy industry and public health,” added John Allan, IDFA vice-president of regulatory affairs and international standards. “We recognize Rob as well as the food safety team at Great Lakes Cheese for their continued leadership to protect public health.”
Previous recipients of the award are Schreiber Foods, Inc. (2023); Jeremy Travis, vice-president of quality & technical services for Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc. (2022), Dairy Farmers of America (2021), Edith Wilkin, staff vice-president and fellow, food safety and regulatory compliance, for Leprino Foods (2020); The Ice Cream Club, Inc. (2019); Brian Kraus, director of food safety and regulatory compliance, Wells Enterprises, Inc. (2018); and the Cornell University Dairy Foods Extension team (2017).