U.S – Rob Shumaker, associated with Great Lakes Cheese, has been bestowed with the 2024 Food Safety Leadership Award by the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA).

Shumaker’s contribution to IDFA’s Food Safety Committee and collaboration with the University of Wisconsin in assessing various food safety and risk factors in cheese production played a pivotal role in securing the award.

Dr. Kathy Glass from the University of Wisconsin’s Food Research Institute commended Shumaker as a “guardian of food safety” for Great Lakes Cheese and the dairy industry.

Edward Learoyd, Vice President of Safety, Food Safety, Quality, and Regulatory at Great Lakes Cheese, highlighted Shumaker’s ability to bring together industry, academia, and regulators for a common agenda, showcasing momentous work, creativity, and solutions benefiting all stakeholders.

John Allan, IDFA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and International Standards, praised Shumaker’s work, stating that his collaboration with the University of Wisconsin will refine which cheeses are subject to federal traceability requirements, benefiting both the dairy industry and public health.

Shumaker’s critical evaluation of risks associated with individual cheese varieties is anticipated to aid the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in determining which cheeses should be subject to stringent food regulations, emphasizing traceability requirements for higher-risk cheeses.

Expressing gratitude for the award, Shumaker emphasized the commitment of the industry and IDFA to ensuring the safety and quality of dairy products.

He acknowledged the support from industry partners, academia, and the management team at Great Lakes Cheese, emphasizing their collective efforts in advancing food safety initiatives.

“I am deeply appreciative of the guidance and mentorship from industry partners, academia, 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,” said Shumaker.

The Food Safety Leadership Award adds to Shumaker’s notable achievements, marking him as a dedicated leader contributing to the industry’s commitment to excellence in food safety.

Presented at the Dairy Forum in January 2024, this accolade, now in its eighth year, recognizes individuals, groups, or organizations that have demonstrated exceptional leadership in enhancing food safety within the dairy products industry.

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