Sensing a Victory

Dairy Products Evaluation Team places in six out of six

The MU Dairy Products Evaluation Team had another successful year at the Midwest Regional Dairy Products Evaluation contest on Oct. 25 in Glenview, Ill. The students—and their senses—have been trained by Coach Rick Linhardt, coordinator of research activities for Buck’s Ice Cream, to carefully determine the quality of dairy products by tasting, smelling, seeing and touching the products.

The contest, which began in 1916, illustrates and challenges the intense training of students by their coach and professors — “experts in dairy product evaluation.” There are six different categories in the contest, which include: two percent milk, butter, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, vanilla ice cream and strawberry-flavored Swiss-style yogurt.

During the contest, the students use their sensory skills to evaluate the quality of the products through scoring them. The teams and individuals that give scores closest to the expert’s evaluations are awarded.

The MU team placed in six out of the six categories, which included: first place in milk, second place in cheddar cheese, second place in cottage cheese, second place in ice cream, third place in butter and third place in yogurt. They also placed first in all products.

The MU team prepares for the competition by evaluating products off the store shelf and ones that have been prepared by Linhardt. The team practices three to four days a week for two hours a day.

Undergraduate members of the team included Charles Hall, junior; Molly Higgins, junior; Abigail McNeill, junior; along with graduate student, Zhong Zhang. And alternates of the team included Mitchell Albers, sophomore; Courtney Kleekamp, junior; and Julianna Kubiak, sophomore. All students are in the Food Science and Nutrition Degree program.

The contest is hosted by Kraft Foods Group Inc.