ISU Dairy Products Evaluation Team returns, places in national contest

AMES, Iowa - The Dairy Products Evaluation Team from Iowa State University placed fourth overall in the 88th Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation contest in a national student competition in Glenview, Ill.

The ISU team also placed third in individual categories of cottage cheese, Cheddar cheese and butter.

"These students worked really, really hard and it is exciting to the team to place fourth in the nation," said Stephanie Clark, team coach and associate professor in food science and human nutrition. "The students put in the time and effort and focus and it was exciting to be there with them."

Iowa State's best individual placement was Jody Lohse, a food science major from Gladbrook, who scored 10th place overall among individual competitors.

South Dakota State, Brookings, took top overall honors in the competition that included 50 competitors from 16 teams from all over North America.

Clark revived the Iowa State University Dairy Product Evaluation Team when she arrived on campus in August. The team had not been active for several decades.

"There was no question that I wanted to start a team," said Clark, who was pleased with the results. "The future for this team is bright, but to do so well in our first year really raises expectations. We'll have to work hard to do even better next year."

During the competition, team members taste test eight samples of each dairy product and score and describe them. The students' scores and descriptions are compared with those of professional dairy product evaluators. The competitors who evaluate the dairy products most closely to the professional's ratings win the awards.

Other members of the team include food science majors Jun Lian Yeap, Kuantan, Malaysia; and Josh Carter, Carroll; food science graduate students Sakthi Vijayakumar, Coimbatore, India; and Babu Chinnasamy, Salem, India; and animal science major Jennifer Halstead, West Union.