The Center for Dairy Research (CDR), Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin (DFW) and the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA), all based in Madison, Wis., announced the creation of the Dairy Food Safety Alliance, a group designed to deliver the latest in food safety news to dairy product manufacturers, processors, and their suppliers.

“New regulations and the recent uptick in food recalls have cheesemakers devoting more time and resources than ever to food safety efforts,” said John Umhoefer, WCMA’s executive director. “Our organizations aim to provide the support members need not only to meet the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act, but also to maintain and enhance the industry’s reputation for quality.”

The Dairy Food Safety Alliance will meet twice annually, with the first meeting set for Oct. 8, 2018, in Madison.  Meetings will feature speakers from USDA; FDA; the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection; and respected leaders in the field of food safety and quality assurance.  More details will be coming soon, but interested quality assurance staff and cheesemakers are invited to make plans to attend now, the organizations said.

“Food safety best practices should be no secret, and collaboration among organizations is critical to ensure food safety throughout the supply-chain,” said Adam Brock, DFW’s director of food safety, quality and regulatory compliance.

For the past two years, CDR and WCMA have directed the Artisan Dairy Producer Food Safety Initiative, with support from DFW. This program, funded by a USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant, provided Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) training and on-site consultations to more than 80 dairy manufacturers and processors in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. The Dairy Food Safety Alliance was formed in response to participant companies’ request for ongoing educational opportunities and policy updates, the organizations said.

“Wisconsin dairy manufacturers are leading the charge on FSMA, thanks in part to the wealth of training that’s available to them via our organizations,” said Marianne Smukowski, CDR’s outreach program manager. “Over the past two years, we’ve helped dozens of cheesemakers develop and implement their FSMA plans, and we’re here to support them through inspections and regulatory changes, too.”

Participation in the Dairy Food Safety Alliance is open to all dairy manufacturers, processors, and related suppliers, regardless of membership with WCMA.  To get involved or to learn more, contact WCMA’s events manager, Kirsten Strohmenger, at or 608-286-1001.