AUSTIN, Texas (Aug. 6, 2015) — Cathy Strange, Whole Foods Market’s (NASDAQ: WFM) global cheese buyer, received the American Cheese Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award on July 30 at the organization’s annual conference in Providence, Rhode Island.

“ACS is delighted to honor Cathy Strange for her accomplishments and contributions to our organization and the cheese industry,” said Nora Weiser, executive director of the American Cheese Society. “She continues to inspire, mentor, educate and develop the next generation of cheese professionals.”

Strange has more than 30 years’ experience in the cheese industry, where she’s worked closely with farmers and cheesemakers to preserve the quality and heritage of great cheese. Her efforts have created strong relationships with producers, whose high-quality cheeses are available to Whole Foods Market shoppers. Additionally, Strange has been instrumental in increasing the number of Certified Cheese Professionals (CCP) at Whole Foods Market. The company now employs 58 percent of the world’s CCPs.

Strange has been with Whole Foods Market for more than 25 years, is an ACS member and has served as a judge for ACS competitions, the World Cheese Championships, the U.S. Cheese Championships, the World Cheese Awards and the British Cheese Awards. She has also been awarded the French Order of Agricultural Merit and is the only American and non-Italian to ever receive the “Coltellino d’oro” from the Consortium of Parmigiano Reggiano.

The ACS Lifetime Achievement Award was created in 2006 by the American Cheese Society to honor an individual whose professional accomplishments have made a significant and lasting impact in the American cheese industry, and whose life and character have earned the respect and admiration of colleagues. The award recognizes those who have supported and promoted American cheese for at least 30 years.