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News Article

Newly Qualified Stilton Cheese Graders Unveiled

The Stilton Cheese Makers' Association (SCMA) has unveiled the very first Master Stilton Graders.

Master Grader status recognises those who have at least ten years' experience of grading Stilton; have been assessed on two separate occasions by the SCMA's Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) inspector and attended at least ten SCMA grading sessions where the applicant's assessment of a range of cheese is recorded and checked for consistency.

Billy Kevan from Colston Bassett Dairy and Amanda Hobbs from Cropwell Bishop Creamery are the first people in the world to be awarded this elite title and are both responsible for ensuring that only the finest quality blue cheese is labelled as Stilton.
Furthermore, Howard Lucas (Cropwell Bishop Dairy), Keith Hunter (Long Clawson Dairy), Kim Kettle (Long Clawson Dairy) and Adrian Cartlidge (Long Clawson Dairy) have all become Qualified Stilton Graders and now start the long apprenticeship to Master Grader status.

Qualified Graders are awarded after at least three years experience in Stilton grading with two PDO inspections and a minimum of six SCMA grading sessions. A further 9 graders are undergoing training and aiming for qualified grader status in the next 3 years.

Nigel White, Secretary for the SCMA, said: "These people are the world's very first qualified Stilton cheese graders which is a tremendous honour. The Stilton graders inspect each Stilton that is produced, ensuring that the quality is at its very best. Cheese lovers across the globe have these elite few to thank for ensuring that Stilton remains the King of English cheese."

The 6 licensed dairy companies produce more than 1 million whole Stilton cheeses each year with each one subject to grading and assessment. The dairies produce around 10,000 tonnes of Blue and White Stilton cheese a year, of which around 15% are exported; an estimated 30% of all UK sales are made in the four weeks before Christmas. Blue Stilton accounts for more than half of all blue cheese sales in the UK and can only be produced in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire from locally sourced milk. It is a Protected Designation of Origin and has its own Certification Trade Mark aimed at protecting the integrity of the name and the recipe.

Article details

  • Author(s)
  • M Djuric
  • Date
  • 30 January 2009
  • Subject(s)
  • Dairy Science