Mark your calendars! The nation's largest exposition dedicated to cheese takes place in April. You won't want to miss it.

Individuals and companies involved in all facets of the cheese industry will come together on April 20-22 for a variety of educational and social events, including a packed exposition hall where suppliers to the industry will feature their latest and greatest technologies.

This year's International Cheese Technology Exposition (ICTE) is being held in Madison, Wis.'s largest conference center, the Alliant Energy Center. At the 2004 ICTE, the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA), in cooperation with Wisconsin's Center for Dairy Research (WCDR), will host seminars, exhibits and events for nearly 2,000 attendees traveling from around the world.

"The exhibit floor at this year's ICTE will be the largest exhibit floor we've had," says Judy Keller, member services mgr., WCMA. The exhibition floor is opened both Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, allowing plenty of time for attendees to educate themselves on new ingredients, equipment, packaging and services for the cheese industry.

Say cheese! The International Cheese Technology Exposition honors the winners of the World Championship Cheese Contest. Who will be the winners this year? In 2002, all of the winners came from overseas. On the far left is first runner up Hans Plaggenmars of Frico Cheese, Gelderland, Netherlands, who was honored for his Cantenaar, a reduced fat cheese. In the middle, World Championship winners George and Bev Ronalds of Jindi Cheese Pty Ltd., Victoria, Australia, were recognized for their Jindi Brie. And on the far right, Janice Norwood accepted the award for second runner up Society Formagere De Riblaire, Groupe Lactalis Poitou-Charenpes, France, which was honored for its President Riblaire, a hard goat’s milk cheese.

Overview of event

The ICTE event kicks off on Tuesday evening with a welcome reception. Bright and early the next day, the educational seminars begin. (See the schedule of events for specifics, including times and topics.)

A discussion on membrane-filtered milk will include data on cheesemaking trials conducted at WCDR. Case studies have been performed for Cheddar, pizza cheese, Swiss, Hispanic cheeses and cottage cheese, and are quite promising. A discussion on calcium lactate crystals will feature culture-based solutions, as well as a new systematic approach to control.

On the second and final morning (Thursday) of educational seminars, attendees will choose from concurrent sessions. The first track will provide a complete look at dairy biosecurity, including FDA's current implementation of the Bioterrorism Act of 2002. A panel of dairy processors will share their policies and insights into assuring the security of facilities, staff and product. The second track will look at the issues straining federal orders. After a break, attendees will hear about some front-burner marketing issues including opportunities for natural cheese in the growing quick-service restaurant segment; opportunities for dairy in the low-carb diet phenomenon; and a wrap up on marketing healthy weight with dairy calcium.

The ICTE concludes on Thursday evening with an awards reception and banquet to recognize winning cheesemakers in the 2004 World Championship Cheese Contest. The evening will draw visitors from around the world to celebrate quality cheesemaking.

The World Championship Cheese Contest, hosted by WCMA, is the largest international cheese judging competition in the world. The 2004 contest taking place March 16-18, also in Madison, Wis., marks the 25th biennial event. At press time, entries were still being accepted; however contest officials anticipate more than 1,200 entries this year, making the World Championship Cheese Contest the largest international competition in the world.

Twelve judges, including seven from outside the United States and five from different U.S. states, will evaluate entries. The number of international judges was increased from six to seven to better represent the international character of the contest, and gain a greater diversity of cheese knowledge.

In 2002, for the first time, cheesemakers around the world were able to watch the World Championship judging live via video streaming on WCMA's Website. This new feature continues in 2004.

New for this year, the contest features a record 40 entry classes, including new classes for Hispanic cheeses.

For more information on the 2004 International Cheese Technology Exposition, call 800/999-2454, or visit

2004 International Cheese Technology Exposition

April 20-22
Alliant Energy Center
Madison, Wisconsin

Educational Schedule

Wednesday, April 21

Technical Seminars:
(see detailed schedule)
8:30 a.m. until noon
Trade Exposition:
12:30 to 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, April 22

Technical Seminars:
(see detailed schedule)
9:00 a.m. until noon
Trade Exposition:
12:30 to 4:00 p.m.

Social Schedule

Tuesday, April 20

Opening Reception:
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Wednesday, April 21

World Championship Cheese Contest Reception:
Sample award-winning cheeses, and buy some at the auction.
5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, April 22

Winners' Reception and Awards Banquet:
Purchased ticket required.
5:00 to 8:30 p.m.

Technical Seminars

Wednesday, April 21

8:30 a.m.
Opening Remarks

8:40 to 10:00 a.m.
Membrane-filtered Milks in Cheesemaking

  • Membranes 101
  • Logistics of using membrane-filtered milks
  • Case studies
  • Panel Q&A
10:00 to 10:30 a.m.

10:30 to 12:00 p.m.
Controlling Calcium Lactate Crystals in Cheese

  • A cultured-based approach to control

  • A systematic approach to control

  • Panel Q&A

Thursday, April 22

Concurrent Seminars

Track One
9:00 to 9:25 a.m.
On-farm Biosecurity Programs

9:25 to 9:45 a.m.
National Animal I.D. Program

9:45 to 10:00 a.m.
Milk Transportation Programs

10:00 to 10:20 a.m.

10:20 to 11:30 a.m.
Plant-to-market Biosecurity Programs

11:30 to 11:50 a.m.
FDA Implementation of the Bioterrorism Act of 2002

Track Two
9:00 to 10:00 a.m.
The Fate of Federal Orders

10:00 to 10:30 a.m.

10:30 to 11:00 a.m.
Opportunities for Natural Cheese in Quick-service Restaurants

11:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Opportunities for Dairy in Low-carb Diets

11:30 to 12:00 p.m.
Marketing Healthy Weight with Dairy Calcium