Members of the American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP) are gearing up to participate in the German Butchers’ Association (DFV) renowned international quality competition for meat products. The competition, held every three years in Frankfurt, Germany, is part of the IFFA, the world’s largest meat industry trade fair.
Processors from around the world will attend for a chance to win medals and trophies. During the last few years, however, the shipping of meat from American producers into Germany for competition has become increasingly difficult due to a growing number of EU regulations. A variety of documents and certificates must be presented at the German customs office. These rules are very strictly monitored, which means that products submitted without customs clearance for evaluation at IFFA, cannot be accepted by the DFV.
To help enable American producers to effortlessly participate in their international quality competition, the DFV will host a “satellite” sausage and ham competition for AAMP members in Madison, Wisc., Jan. 21-25, 2019. The results from this competition will be held in conjunction with the IFFA in May. Participants are welcome to attend and watch the competition, which will be held at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.
“This competition is an opportunity for American processors to participate on an international level without having to even leave the country,” said Chris Young, AAMP executive director. “AAMP first formed a partnership with the DFV in 2016 to host the inaugural satellite competition. We received more than 300 entries from 15 states. Many members to traveled to Frankfurt after to personally accept their awards and trophies.”
Darla Kiesel of Dewig Meats, Haubstadt, Ind., participated in the competition in 2016. “Attending the DFV-AAMP competition in Wisconsin, as well as the IFFA in Germany, were both really great experiences,” said Kiesel. “We enjoyed seeing how our products ranked in comparison to the German standard. The judges were cordial, knowledgeable, and very pleasant to talk to. Attending both of these events were once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.”
In January, the DFV will fly its most knowledgeable and experienced German judges to Wisconsin to carry out the testing. By using the same judges for both competitions, the DFV ensure that the tests are carried out according to their standards and to the established evaluation requirements. Both the conduct of the competition, as well as the medals, will be identical to those held during the IFFA in May.
While many processors enjoy partaking in their state and national meat competitions, having the chance to participate on an international level is an opportunity to perfect their craft. For Rick Reams, owner of RJ’s Meats in Hudson, Wis., this competition is chance to produce the best product he is capable of on a daily basis. “I feel the DFV-AAMP Quality Competition is important, as it gives me the opportunity to have my products judged against a different set of standards versus our ACMC or state competitions,” said Reams. “Having another set of eyes, another set of taste buds, and most importantly, a different judge – a Master Butcher from Germany who has trained for years in school and his own business – brings a whole new dimension to the competition.”
The competition is not only a way for members to have their products evaluated on an international level, but serves as a valuable marketing tool for their business. Doug Hankes, vice-president of operations at Thrushwood Farms Quality Meats, Inc. in Galesburg, Ill., agrees. “The IFFA competition is a wonderful event to learn about how your products standup to the world standards of meat products,” Hankes said. “Just entering the  competition alone has been a valuable marketing tool for our company.”
The registration deadline for the competition is December 18, 2018. The participation fee is $110, per product. The fee includes the testing costs, medals, certificates, as well as the corresponding trophies. Discounts are available for certain number of entries.
**You must be a member of the American Association of Meat Processors to participate in the competition.
Official Awards Ceremony:
The awarding of certificates, medals and trophies will take place on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, at 2:00 p.m., during the IFFA, held at the trade fair grounds in Frankfurt, Germany. The president of the German Butchers’ Association, Herbert Dohrmann, and representatives of the Messe Frankfurt will award them. Participants unable to attend the award ceremony in Germany will be mailed their awards and trophies.