SDSU Dairy Products Judging Team 2nd at nationals, 1st at regionals

Courtesy photo: Pictured, from left, are Ahmed Hammam, assistant coach; Mohamed Elfaruk, graduate student; Madison Okerstrom; Han Si; Sanne de Bruijn; Erika Franzen-Ackerman; and Lloyd Metzger, coach.

BROOKINGS – South Dakota State University’s Dairy Products Judging Team placed second in All Products at the 2019 Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contest held April 17 in Madison, Wisconsin. A total of 55 undergraduate and graduate contestants from 15 U.S. universities participated in the contest.

“Our students are outstanding and will be very effective professionals in the industry in the future,” said Vikram Mistry, Dairy and Food Science department head. “The team members include majors in dairy manufacturing, dairy production and food science, which reinforces the farm to table characteristic of the department and will give these participants an edge in their future careers.” 

In dairy products judging, students evaluate the appearance, texture and flavor of six dairy products including milk, butter, cheddar cheese, ice cream, yogurt and cottage cheese. By taking part in the judging contests, students learn how to determine if products have quality defects. Members of the judging team often obtain a position in quality control or manufacturing and they use their product judging skills to identify issues and improve the quality of dairy products.

SDSU team members are Erika Franzen-Ackerman, Fredericksburg, Iowa; Han Si, Tianjin, China; Madison Okerstrom, Shafer, Minnesota; Sanne de Bruijn, Viksburg, Minnesota; and Mohamed Elfaruk, Masallatah, Libya. The team is coached by Lloyd Metzger, professor of dairy science and Alfred Chair in dairy education, and Ahmed Hammam, graduate student.   

The team placed first in butter, cheddar cheese and ice cream, second in milk, third in yogurt and eighth in cottage cheese. De Bruijn placed eighth overall and fifth in cheddar cheese. Okerstrom placed 10th overall and first in cheddar cheese and ice cream. Si placed 11th overall and third in butter and ice cream. Franzen-Ackerman placed 13th overall and fifth in butter. In the graduate student contest, Elfaruk placed second overall, third in cottage cheese and fourth in butter, ice cream, milk and yogurt.

The contest was hosted by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association and was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and more than 35 dairy associations, companies and suppliers.

Additionally, the team placed first in All Products at the 2019 Midwest Regional Collegiate Dairy Products Judging Contest held April 6 in Coopersville, Mich. The team also placed first in cheddar cheese, butter, cottage cheese and yogurt. A total of 32 undergraduate and graduate contestants from nine universities participated in the contest.

At the regional contest, Franzen-Ackerman placed first overall and first in butter, yogurt and cottage cheese. De Bruijn placed second overall and second in milk, cheddar cheese and cottage cheese. In the graduate student contest, Elfaruk placed first overall and first in milk, cheddar cheese and cottage cheese.

The contest was hosted by Continental Dairy Facilities and sponsored by more than 20 dairy companies and suppliers.

SDSU has a long history at the contest and has won the national championship eight out of the last 10 years and 24 times in the 97-year history of the contest.


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