Winn-Dixie Sells Remaining Dairy Plants

Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. said last month that it will sell its remaining two dairies-one in Plant City, Fla. the other in Hammond, La.-to Southeast Milk, Inc.

Both facilities will remain in full production and Winn-Dixie associates working in the plants will become employees of SMI.

 “We have concluded that the sale of our dairies is in the company’s best interest as we continue to sharpen our focus on the retail operation of our business,”  Winn-Dixie President, Peter Lynch said. “We are pleased that SMI recognizes the value of our dairies and the associates who work there, and we look forward to a successful partnership.”

Upon completion of the sale Winn-Dixie will operate just one manufacturing plant-its  private label Chek Cola plant located in Fitzgerald, Ga.

Wal-Mart Private Label Goes no-rBST

BENTONVILLE, Ark.-Wal-Mart’s Great Value milk is now being sourced exclusively from cows that have not been treated with artificial growth hormones, the world’s largest retailer said last month. Sam’s Club is also exclusively offering milk selections from suppliers that have pledged not to treat cows with rBST.

While the FDA has stated that milk from cows treated with rBST poses no risk to human health, many Wal-Mart customers have expressed a desire for milk choices. Wal-Mart says last month’s announcement is evidence of its commitment to keeping its product selection in line with customer expectations.

Swiss Gruyere Takes Top Prize at World Cheese Championship

MADISON, Wis.-An international panel of expert judges has named a Swiss Gruyere cheese as the 2008 World Championship Cheese.

Cheesemaker Michael Spycher, of Kaserei Fritzenhaus (Cheesemaker Fritz House) in Wasen, Switzerland, took top honors out of 1,941 entries from 19 countries for his Le Gruyere Switzerland. Out of possible 100 points, the Gruyere scored 98.82 in the final round of judging, during which judges re-evaluated all gold-winning cheeses to determine the champion.

First runner-up in the contest, with a score of 98.56, is a Gorgonzola made by CERPL Cheesemakers in Italy. The cheese is made for DCI Cheese Company. Second runner-up is an Emmentaler in the Rinded Swiss Style category, made by Bernhard Naf, of Kaserei Gunetershausen, in Guntershausen, Switzerland, which scored 98.42.

“These cheesemakers have participated in the largest international cheese competition ever held. Every medalist should be extremely proud of their accomplishment,” said John Umhoefer, exec. dir. of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, which hosts the biennial competition.

Overall, U.S. cheesemakers dominated last month’s competition, earning gold medals in 46 of the total 77 categories judged, including golds in both butter classes and in the retail packaging class. Netherlands came in second among the countries, with eight golds; Denmark had six; Canada had four and Switzerland took three. Austria, Australia and Spain all won two gold medals, while Sweden, Italy, France and South Africa each captured one apiece.

Among U.S. states, Wisconsin dominated with 27 gold medals. New York took five golds, California and Idaho each took three, Iowa two, and Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island each earned one gold medal.

The World Championship Cheese Contest is the largest international cheese and butter competition in the world. For more information on the contest, as well as complete results for all 77 entry classes and contest photos, visit