Penn State Dairy Products Evaluation Team places high in contest

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A student team from Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences recently finished fifth overall in the Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contest. The team placed third in the cottage cheese competition, fourth in butter, fourth in milk and fourth in ice cream.

Team members included senior undergraduate and graduate food science majors. Stephanie Schalles of Jefferson Hills, Pa., placed second in butter and third in milk in the individual rankings. Other team members were Tony Herdzik of Rochester, N.Y., Joe Syrko of Donora, Pa., Nick Pappert of Allison Park, Pa., Caitlin Anderson of Milford, Pa., and Rachel Primrose of Stroudsburg, Pa.

They were coached by Kerry Kaylegian, dairy foods research and extension associate.

Held in Chicago on Nov. 4, the contest consisted of teams of three undergraduate students, up to two alternates and two graduate students. Commercially available samples of butter, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, vanilla ice cream, milk and strawberry Swiss-style yogurt 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.

Eleven teams competed in the national event.

"It was a challenging competition, and our students were great," Kaylegian said. "The contest this year was held in conjunction with the International Dairy Show, which gave the students a chance to learn more about the dairy industry and interact with dairy professionals."

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Last Updated November 25, 2013