The farmer-owned cooperative scored a 99.4 out of a possible score of 100 to win the coveted award.
ITHACA, N.Y. — Upstate Niagara Cooperative, of Buffalo, N.Y., has been named the 2014 "Best Milk" processor by Cornell University’s New York State Milk Quality Improvement Program.
Upstate Niagara Cooperative scored a 99.4 out of a possible score of 100 to win the coveted award. Battenkill Valley Creamery of Salem, N.Y. took second place with a score of 99.2.
The awards were announced Aug. 25 at the Great New York State Fair in Syracuse, N.Y.
The selection of Upstate Niagara Cooperative as the best milk in the state is part of New York state’s Milk Quality Improvement Program, which began in 1972. The awards program started in 1997. Since 1997, the Milk Quality Improvement program, which is a dairy farmer-funded program established at Cornell University by Professor Emeritus David Bandler, has selected the winners of the top quality fluid-milk products in New York state.
The program is funded through dairy farmer checkoff dollars, conducted at Cornell, and administered through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Program officials visit all participating fluid milk-processing plants twice a year, and they collect fluid-milk samples for very rigorous analyses.
The collected milk samples are analyzed when they are received and again 14 days later, near the end of the sell-by date. Microbiological and chemical tests are performed, and trained sensory panelists taste each sample and score it for flavor and odor. Cornell food science experts run the analytical tests, judging such criteria as butterfat content and post-pasteurization bacteria counts within the milk's sell-by date.
Upstate Niagara Cooperative is a food and beverage cooperative owned by dairy farmers throughout Western New York. It markets numerous dairy products, including milk, ice cream mix, yogurt and flavored milk-based beverages. For more information about Upstate Niagara Cooperative, visit here.
Additional information about the Milk Quality Improvement Program is available here.