Great Lakes Schumaker Wins 2024 Food Security Leadership Award

Rob Shumaker Great Lakes Cheese received the 2024 International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) Food Safety Leadership Award at the IDFA Dairy Forum. This award, now in its eighth year, honors an individual, group or organization that has demonstrated exceptional leadership aimed at improving food safety within the dairy industry.

Shumaker worked with the IDFA Food Safety Committee and the University of Wisconsin to determine various food safety and risk factors in cheese production. Dr. Kathy Glass of the University of Wisconsin Food Research Institute wrote in her letter of support for Rob’s nomination: “Rob is the guardian of food safety for Great Lakes Cheese and the dairy industry. »

“Galvanizing industry, academia and regulators around a common agenda requires considerable work, creativity and win-win solutions. We are very proud of Rob’s contribution. His connections in the food and beverage industry are a testament to his work,” says Edward Learoyd, vice president of safety, food safety, quality and regulation at Great Lakes Cheese.

“Rob’s work with the IDFA Food Safety Committee and the University of Wisconsin to determine various food safety and risk factors in cheese production will help refine which cheeses are subject to the federal government’s strict requirements in food traceability, benefiting both the dairy industry and public health,” said John Allan, IDFA vice president for regulatory affairs and international standards. “We recognize Rob and the Great Lakes Cheese food safety team for their continued leadership in protecting public health.”

Shumaker’s work to critically evaluate the risks associated with each variety of cheese will help the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) refine which cheeses should be subject to the FDA’s strict food regulations, including traceability requirements to focus efforts on higher risk cheeses rather than those that are. intrinsically safe.

“This award demonstrates the unwavering commitment of the industry and IDFA to ensuring the safety and quality of dairy products,” Shumaker said. “I deeply appreciate the guidance and mentorship of Great Lakes Cheese’s industry partners, academia, management team and the Epprecht family. 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.

Previous recipients of the award include Schreiber Foods, Inc. (2023); Jeremy Travis, Vice President of Quality and Technical Services for Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc. (2022), Dairy Farmers of America (2021), Edith Wilkin, Vice President of Staff and Member, Food Safety and Regulatory Compliance, for Leprino Foods (2020); The Ice Cream Club, Inc. (2019); Brian Kraus, Director of Food Safety and Regulatory Compliance, Wells Enterprises, Inc. (2018); and the Cornell University Dairy Foods Extension Team (2017).

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