FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Ten team members from Whole Foods Market’s Florida region have passed the American Cheese Society’s Certified Cheese Professionals (CCP) Exam™, bringing the total number of Whole Foods CCPs in Florida to 24 – the most of any region in the company.

The 10 team members devoted nine months of webinars, travel and extensive studying in order to pass the exam, which was administered in Madison, Wis. Whole Foods Market now has 147 CCPs, the largest number of certified cheese experts in the world. Whole Foods Market cheesemongers who passed this year’s exam represent two countries, 21 states and 67 stores.

The Florida region of Whole Foods Market has in-store and regional CCPs in the following locations:

·         Bayhill (Orlando) – 2 CCPs

·         Boca – 3 CCPs

·         Carrollwood – 2 CCPs

·         Florida Regional – 5 CCPs

·         Fort Lauderdale – 1 CCP

·         Jacksonville – 3 CCPs

·         Pinecrest – 1 CCP

·         Pembroke Pines – 1 CCP

·         Palm Beach Gardens – 1 CCP

·         South Beach – 2 CCPs

·         Tallahassee – 1 CCP

·         Tampa – 2 CCPs

“Whole Foods Market cheesemongers are as passionate as they are talented when it comes to cheese, and we have worked hard to train them to earn this highest honor,” said Cathy Strange, global cheese buyer for Whole Foods Market. “Our Team Members love sharing their deep knowledge with our shoppers, so helping them become certified is really a win-win-win for the cheesemonger, Whole Foods Market and our customers.”

The Certified Cheese Professional Exam™ is the first and only exam of its kind. It was established by the American Cheese Society to encourage high standards of comprehensive cheese knowledge and service for professionals in all areas of the industry. The exam was developed over an eight-year period with more than 100 industry experts working together.

Testing encompasses a broad range of topics including raw ingredients, the cheesemaking process, storing and handling cheese, selecting distributors, marketing and communicating about cheese, nutrition, and regulations and sanitation.