Penn State Dairy Products Evaluation Team places high in contest

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A four-student team from Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences recently finished second in the Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contest.

It was the University's first entry into the contest after a seven-year absence. Team members included senior Food Science majors Kelsey Rogers, of Howard; Megan Woo, of San Francisco; Jennifer Updegrove, of Oley; and Allison Hoy, of Pittsburgh.

They were coached by Kerry Kaylegian, dairy foods research and extension associate. This contest was Kaylegian's first as head coach.

"It was great to have Penn State back in the Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contest," she said. "We received a warm welcome from teams and coaches that have been involved in the contest for more than 30 years."

Held in Springfield, Mo., on Nov. 3, the contest required teams of at least three undergraduate students to provide samples of various dairy products including butter, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, vanilla ice cream, milk and strawberry Swiss-style yogurt. The concoctions were judged on appearance, body and texture.

The products were judged on a defect scoring approach, meaning the judges looked for defects in the samples as compared to an "ideal" product. Each defect could be described as slight, definite or pronounced. There were as many as 31 defects on the yogurt score card and as few as 15 defects on the milk score card.

All samples were prejudged and scored by expert judges. The goal of the contest was for the students to evaluate the samples and match the judges' defects and scores. The students had 35 minutes to judge each product category, followed by a five-minute rest period.

Sixteen teams competed in the national event. In addition to its second-place overall finish, Penn State placed second in the team butter competition, sixth in milk and ninth in all products. Allison Hoy placed second in the individual butter competition.

"As a new coach, it was challenging to learn how to train the team for this competition," Kaylegian said. "I am thrilled that our team did so well in our first year back in the contest."

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Last Updated November 28, 2012