U.S. Cheesemakers Win Big at 2024 World Cheese Championships

ARLINGTON, VA – The World Championship Cheese Contest awarded U.S. cheesemakers with an impressive 84 Best in Class finishes in Madison, Wisconsin – a stellar result for the United States. A total of 25 countries participated in this year’s competition, including Italy, the Netherlands and France. The complete list of winning cheeses can be found here.

Billed as the world’s premier technical cheese, butter, and yoghurt competition, the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association has hosted the biennial contest since 1957.

Among the impressive showing by American cheesemakers, Schuman Cheese’s Lake Country Dairy processors in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin, won both Best of Class and Second Award in the parmesan division, beating out an Italian competitor, and won top billing for its Cello Artisan extra aged asiago, ahead of a Danish entry. Additionally, Lactalis Belmont from Belmont, Wisconsin won top brie over a French processor, and U.S. cheesemakers swept the Havarti category, beating out two Danish contestants. These results are especially notable due to the European Union’s ongoing campaign to confiscate these cheese terms as geographical indications that can only be used by European producers.

“While the EU would like to think that its producers own the exclusive right to make and sell parmesan, havarti, asiago and other types of cheeses, it’s clear that U.S. and other cheesemakers can match their quality, and then some,” said Jaime Castaneda, executive director of the Consortium for Common Food Names. “Just like in 2017 in the United Kingdom when an American parmesan won out over all other parmesan entries, including every Parmigiano Reggiano contestant, this year’s World Cheese Awards showed the strength of U.S. cheeses when unleashed to compete on a level playing field. We’re thrilled to see American cheesemakers get the recognition that they deserve, and we look forward to continuing to fight for them and their rights to sell their award-winning cheeses all around the world.”

As part of that fight, CCFN, the U.S. Dairy Export Council and the National Milk Producers Federation have championed and supported the Safeguarding American Value-Added Exports (SAVE) Act, introduced last year to spur greater Administration-led action on common names. The SAVE Act has garnered broad industry and congressional support and is awaiting inclusion in the farm bill.