If you asked someone to evaluate their cup of yogurt or glass of milk they would most likely shoot you a confused look or give a non-specific answer such as “good,” but that’s the not the case for the MU Dairy Products Evaluation Team. They have been trained by Coach Rick Linhardt to carefully determine the quality of dairy products by tasting, smelling, seeing and touching the products.
The 2011 MU Dairy Products Evaluation Team competed in the 90th Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contest the weekend of Nov. 4-6 in Chicago. The contest was hosted by Kraft Foods at their Technical Center, Glenview, Ill. Eleven teams competed in this year’s competition. The MU team won first in ice cream and third in cottage cheese.
The contest illustrates and challenges the intense training of students by their coach and professors — “experts in dairy product evaluation.” The six different categories include milk, butter, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, ice cream and yogurt.
The MU team prepares for the competition by evaluating products off the store shelf and ones that have been prepared by Linhardt, Coordinator of Research Activities for Buck’s ice cream.
Senior Nursalim Zico Lumangku Jap was first in cottage cheese. Cui Fan was second in cottage cheese amongst Graduate Students. Senior Charlie Schinsky was first in yogurt and second in ice cream.
“The team was, of course, elated and excited with their win,” Linhardt said.
Undergraduate team members included Becky Haynes, Nursalim Zico Lumangku Jap, and Charlie Schinsky. Graduate student members were Cui Fan and Ayca Gedikoglu.
The team practices three to four days a week for two hours per day. They practice from the beginning of the fall semester until the competition.
“Many of the students practice for two years and I have had some practice for three years,” Linhardt said.
The Food Processing Suppliers Association, The American Dairy Science Association, and the USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service, Dairy Programs serve as sponsors for the contest.