Mozzarella man wins dairy award
The Kiwi who pioneered the technique of rapidly manufacturing mozzarella has been feted at the International Dairy Federation’s (IDF) recent summit.
Keith Johnston, principal research technologist at Fonterra, was awarded the IDF Prize of Excellence for his outstanding contribution to the work of the IDF.
Johnston retired in August after 47 years of service to the New Zealand dairy industry.
While the IDF recognised him for his work on Codex cheese standards, he is best known as the ‘‘mozzarella man’’ who worked with the team that produced a stable cheese that could be eaten within hours of manufacture.
As a result Fonterra built a $240 million plant at Clandeboye, in South Canterbury. It now exports enough mozzarella to top half the pizzas (about 300 million) made in China each year.
Jeremy Hill, Fonterra’s chief science and technology officer, said Johnston had made a significant contribution to Fonterra and the New Zealand dairy industry.
‘‘Most of us who’ve had mozzarella on a pizza will be thankful that his passion for science resulted in him championing Fonterra’s innovative mozzarella technology, from its creation, through to patenting and commercial operation. Today, Fonterra’s mozzarella plant runs 24 hours a day.’’
‘‘Beyond his day job, for the past 15 years, KJ has played a critical role in helping consumers across the world have greater access to dairy products through the development of sensible standards and regulations,’’ Hill said.