American Cheese Society
The American Cheese Society (ACS) is the leader in promoting and supporting American cheeses. ACS provides the cheese community with educational resources and networking opportunities, while encouraging the highest standards of cheesemaking focused on safety and sustainability. ACS is a nonprofit trade association, founded in 1983. ACS issues awards recognizing fine cheeses and cultured dairy products via its annual Judging & Competition. Since 1983, cheesemakers, retailers, distributors, importers/exporters, dairy farmers, academics, enthusiasts, specialty food producers, and others have attended the association's Annual Conference.
ACS was founded by Frank Kosikowski of Cornell University. Dr. Kosikowski was the author of several books on the subject of cheese, for instance : Cheese and Fermented Milk Food. While the organization had a slow and steady beginning, with most of the workers being volunteers, by the 1990s there was much growth for ACS as well as for the American cheese industry in general. In 2014 there were nearly 1,500 members of the association throughout the United States, Canada, and numerous other countries around the world.
ACS provides the cheese community with educational resources and networking opportunities, while encouraging the highest standards of cheesemaking focused on safety and sustainability. ACS has a sister nonprofit organization called “the American Cheese Education Foundation (ACEF)”. ACEF is a 501(c)(3) tax-deductible charitable organization that allows donors to make tax-deductible gifts to support existing and new efforts to further educational opportunities for all those interested in producing, marketing, selling, and appreciating America’s artisan, farmstead, and specialty cheeses.
Membership is available in 3 levels. Level one is designed for producers, and level two is available to trade affiliates. These levels are offered to individuals or small businesses, and membership is restricted to professional cheesemakers and those involved in professions that relate directly to cheese or cheese-related products. The third level is for the cheese enthusiasts and those consumers or students who want to gain and/or increase their knowledge about the world of artisan and specialty cheese.
Events and Education
The American Cheese Society (ACS) holds an Annual Conference & Competition to gather members of the artisan and specialty cheese community, with approximately 1,000 attendees gathering in a different city each year for educational and networking opportunities. ACS also organizes the ACS Certified Cheese Professional™ Exam (CCP Exam)  which was established to encourage improved standards of comprehensive cheese knowledge and service, offering professionals in the cheese industry the opportunity to earn the distinguished title of ACS Certified Cheese Professional™, or ACS CCP™. The letters ACS CCP™ designate that an individual has acquired thorough knowledge and the level of expertise that is demanded within the cheese industry. An online directory of individuals with the ACS CCP™ designation is available for reference by organizations and individuals seeking employees, giving ACS CCP™s and their employers a strong competitive edge. ACS has also established a cheese educator database for those seeking to expand their cheese knowledge and expertise. ACS has also created a retail discount program that allows members to receive discounts with participating retailers throughout the country. ACS hosts several events annually, including American Cheese Month every October. The month-long celebration aims to promote and support the American cheese industry and increase funding for the American Cheese Education Foundation. American Cheese Month encourages cheesemakers to host special events such as tours at their farms. People from across the country are encouraged to join by promoting cheese related events including gatherings of cheesemakers, retailers, cheesemongers and chefs to celebrate and share great cheese.
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- "History". ACS website. American Cheese Society. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
- "Mission values". ACS website. American Cheese Society. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
- "American Cheese Education Foundation". ACE Foundation website. American Cheese Education Foundation. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
- "benefits". ACS website. ACS membership. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
- Christy&Heinen (September 26, 2012). "New professional exam from American Cheese Society is serious stuff". Madison-Magazine.
- "ACS CCP Directory". ACS website.
- "Cheese Educator". ACS website. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
- "REtail Discount Program". ACS website. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
- "American Cheese Month". ACS website.