Campus: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo -- January 25, 2001

Cal Poly Dairy Science Students To Represent U.S. in International Competition

Three Cal Poly undergraduates have been chosen to represent the United States in an international dairy products judging competition.

The three members of Cal Poly's national-champion team plus two South Dakota undergrads make up the American team that will compete at the European Dairy Products Judging Contest in La Rochelle, France, in March.

The honor follows the Cal Poly team's first-place finishes in both regional and national competition.

The team members, all Fortuna residents, are Sarah Renner, a dairy science junior, Marcia Bugbee, an agribusiness senior, and Renee McLaughlin, an agricultural science junior.

Dairy science faculty member and Cal Poly team coach William Gillis will be the U.S. team's coach.

The Foundation of the International Association of Food Industry Suppliers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are helping sponsor the U.S. team. The team is composed of the top five individuals in the All Products judging category at this year's national competition in San Francisco and the coach from the winning university team.

"It's rare," said Leslie Ferreira, head of the Dairy Science Department at Cal Poly, "that all three members of a university team

-- even the winning team -- finish among the top five individuals. We're very proud of that fact."

The European contestants the American team will face already have the equivalent of a bachelor's degree and are attending a two-year specialized technical training program at one of several European schools.

The purpose of the competition is to test a team's ability to correctly grade and score six different dairy products: butter, ice cream, milk, cottage cheese, yogurt and cheddar cheese. Four to six people recognized by industry as having expertise in their individual product areas will serve as judges.

The officials prejudge eight samples of the products. The students then seek to duplicate the judges' critique of each sample in

the product line. Each student judges 48 different samples for appearance, flavor, body and texture.

The students compete both as individuals and as a team. The individual with the highest score in All Products is the overall winner.

At the Midwest Regional Dairy Products Judging Contest, sponsored by the Chicago Dairy Technological Society and Kraft Company and held in Glenview, Ill., Cal Poly finished first in All Products.

At the National Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contest sponsored by the American Dairy Science Association, the Foundation of the International Association of Food Industry Suppliers and the USDA, held in San Francisco, Cal Poly took first place over 21 competing teams.

"We're extremely proud of our students," Ferreira said. "These competitions are exceptionally challenging, and our students not only won the regional, they also won at the nationals. Few teams in the competition's history have accomplished this. This is a perfect illustration of the high caliber of our students and faculty and the advantage our hands-on learn-by-doing educational approach provides."

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