The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) recognized 25 dairy business operations for their outstanding achievements and improvements in worker safety in 2022, honoring them with the IDFA Dairy Industry Safety Recognition award. This is the 20th year that IDFA has sponsored this program, highlighting the outstanding workplace safety achievements of U.S. dairy companies.

“The dairy industry continues to demonstrate that the safety of our people and our food is the dairy industry’s No. 1 priority,” says Michael Dykes, D.V.M., IDFA president and CEO. “Each safety recognition award represents the success of the innovative and proactive approaches to workplace safety by dairy company safety teams. Consumers and customers of dairy foods companies value how these innovations help to deliver safe, nutritious food to people around the world.”

Each company applied by providing their occupational injury and illness performance rates as well as a providing a detailed narrative essay on safety and training efforts at the facility and leading indicators, with equal weight given to essays and injury statistics from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Judging this year was conducted by Pete VanDerlyke, Ph.D., CSP, of Peco Foods Inc.; Danielle Quist, vice president, regulatory affairs and counsel, IDFA; and Alex Cutillo, legislative and regulatory affairs coordinator for IDFA.

“Clearly, many members of the International Dairy Foods Association are utilizing both lagging indicators as well as leading indicators, which is evident in their strong safety and health programs,” notes VanDerlyke. “Coupling the measurement of properly implemented leading indicators, ones that include management commitment and employee engagement, with traditional lagging indicators not only enhances a safety and health program, it also builds the culture that’s desired. These awards demonstrate the understanding of how and why a strong safety culture is such an integral part of any dairy facility operation.”

Criteria for success

The IDFA award program includes categories for both processing facilities and trucking operations in the dairy industry. IDFA issued a total of 25 awards. In addition to 23 Outstanding Facility safety award winners, IDFA recognized two companies as “Most Improved Facility” award winners based on significant decreases in recordable-injury cases and the rate of days away from work, restrictions, and transfers (DART) for each of the last two years when compared to all other facilities that applied.

IDFA will issue a call for nominations for the next Dairy Industry Safety Recognition Awards competition in early 2024.

The full list of winners is below, presented in alphabetical order:

2023 Outstanding Awards in Worker Safety

Agri-Mark/Cabot Creamery Cooperative

  • Agri-Mark/Cabot Creamery: Montpelier, Vt. 

Crystal Farms Dairy Co.

  • Crystal Farms Dairy Co.: Lake Mills, Wis.

Fairlife LLC

  • Fairlife LLC: Fair Oaks, Ind.
  • Fairlife LLC: Dexter, N.M.
  • Fairlife LLC: Coopersville, Mich.


  • HP Hood LLC, Vernon Transportation: Vernon, N.Y.
  • HP Hood LLC, Philadelphia Transportation, Philadelphia

The Kroger Co.

  • Kroger Springdale: Cincinnati
  • Kroger Layton Dairy: Layton, Utah
  • Kroger Pace Dairy: Crawfordsville, Ind.
  • Kroger Pace Dairy: Rochester, Minn.
  • Kroger Centennial Farms: Atlanta
  • Kroger Mountain View: Denver
  • Kroger Riverside: Riverside, Calif.
  • Kroger Tamarack Farms: Newark, Ohio
  • Kroger Tolleson Dairy: Tolleson, Ariz.

Lactalis American Group

  • Lactalis American Group: Nampa, Idaho

Michigan Milk Producers Association

  • Michigan Milk Producers Association, Constantine, Mich.

Nelson-Jameson Inc.

  • Nelson-Jameson: Amarillo, Texas
  • Nelson-Jameson: Twins Falls, Idaho
  • Nelson-Jameson: Turlock, Calif.
  • Nelson-Jameson, York, Pa.
  • Nelson-Jameson, Marshfield, Wis.

2023 Most Improved Award in Worker Safety


  • HP Hood LLC: Vernon Transportation, Vernon, N.Y.

The Kroger Co.

  • Kroger Springdale: Springdale, Ohio
Nelson-Jameson employees James Dudley and Dave Mechanic from the Twin Falls, Idaho, distribution center and Dan Rocha and Chris Avalos in the Turlock, Calif., distribution center display IDFA award certificates. Photo courtesy of Nelson-Jameson

“We are extremely proud of our two transportation locations that have been recognized by IDFA’s safety awards,” Dave Crowley, HP Hood’s vice president of EHS and Sustainability, tells Dairy Foods. “Their achievements are a reflection on our professional truck drivers, how we emphasize the importance of workplace safety, and how we manage the safety of our truck fleet.”

Mike Rindy, Nelson-Jameson president. adds: “Nelson-Jameson strongly believes that accidents and injuries are preventable, and we prioritize safety each day at all our strategic distribution centers across the country. We are so honored to receive this recognition, which is a direct result of our employees’ tireless efforts to reduce and prevent illness and injury on the job.” 

“Each awardee is a shining example of how to implement innovative and proactive approaches to workplace safety,” Dykes concludes. “Year after year, dairy companies go above and beyond to provide a safe and productive work environment.”