Body of Knowledge

The American Cheese Society (ACS) Body of Knowledge is a comprehensive framework that aims to encompass the interdisciplinary domains of information that comprise the knowledge base of the cheese industry. The ACS Body of Knowledge was first compiled in 2010, modified in 2012, and revised in 2017 to reflect the dynamic nature of the growing cheese industry.

Eleven Domains of Information are woven together to create the areas of knowledge that members of our industry are expected to draw upon during their career.

The ACS Body of Knowledge is a living document, and it will be regularly reviewed at scheduled intervals to ensure that it is reflective of the current state of the industry. This outline is tied to the ACS Certified Cheese Professional® Exam, but it will also be used by ACS to:

  • Grow ACS certification programs that establish standards for cheese professionals;
  • Guide ACS educational programming, including Conference programming, regional and online education, and other professional development initiatives;
  • Facilitate information-seeking among industry members by providing consistent keywords and tags for use as metadata associated with ACS resources online;
  • Support content development by identifying where there are gaps in research and resources, and pointing to areas where new research and documentation can be developed.


Domain 1: Health, regulations, food safety
1. Health
2. Regulations governing cheese industry procedures
3. Food safety

Domain 2: Operations
1. Facilities
2. Equipment and utensils
3. Standard Operating Procedures
4. Cleaning & sanitation protocols
5. Personnel
6. Crisis management/ disaster planning

Domain 3: Cheese History, Definitions, and Categorization
1. History of cheese
2. Definitions
3. Categorization

Domain 4: Milk
1. Science of milk
2. Milk composition and yields
3. Milk source

Domain 5: Cheesemaking
1. Science of cheesemaking
2. Ingredients
3. Cheesemaking process

Domain 6: Ripening
1. Science of cheese ripening
2. Ripening parameters
3. Ripening process

Domain 7: Assessment and Evaluation
1. Sensory Evaluation
2. Points of Evaluation
3. Communicating assessments

Domain 8: Selling and Transporting
1. Selecting sales outlets
2. Selling cheese
3. Procuring
4. Packing
5. Logistics and transportation

Domain 9: Inventory Management
1. Sourcing (inventory selection)
2. Receiving
3. Inventory management
4. Storage & shelf life guidelines

Domain 10: Service
1. Types of cheese service
2. Customer service
3. Tastings and Pairings

Domain 11: Business Principles and Practices
1. Research
2. Accounting and finance
3. Human resources
4. Marketing
5. Merchandising

Click the links below to download and explore the ACS Body of Knowledge.

History of the ACS Body of Knowledge:

The development of the American Cheese Society’s Body of Knowledge was led by Susan Sturman, Sasha Davies, and Sarah Spira, with input from: Robert Aguilera, John Antonelli, Kendall Antonelli, Kate Arding, Ray Bair, Matt Benson, Alyce Birchenough, Zoe Brickley, Tim Bucciarelli, Kim Bukowski, Vern Caldwell, Pav Cherny, Brian Civitello, Stephanie Clark, Nancy Clark, Taylor Cocalis Suarez, Sue Conley,  Dennis D’Amico, Adeline Druart, Laure Dubouloz, Gordon Edgar, Ruth Flores-Norseland, Pat Ford, Tim Gaddis, Cathy Gaffney, Craig Gile,  Michelle Haram,  Emily Hershberger, Sara Hill, Shawn Hockert, Sarah Hoffman, Caroline Hostettler, Matt Jennings, Brenda Jensen, Jeff Jirik, Mateo Kehler, Brian Keyser, Paula Lambert, Emiliano Lee, David Leonhardi,  Laura Logos Downey, Max McCalman, Eric Meredith,  Emilio Mignucci, Gina Mode, Shelli Morton, Adam Moskowitz, Jodi Olsen Reed , Greg O’Neill, Vince Razionale,  Jonathan Richardson, Louis Risoli, Dick Roe, Rich Rogers, Matt Rubiner, Kathleen Shannon Finn, Emily Shartin, Kari Skibbie, Peggy Smith, Marianne Smukowski, Dean Sommer, Meri Spicer, Jeremy Stephenson, Cathy Strange, Daniel Utano, Tom Van Voorhees, Cheryl Wilson Sullivan, and Daphne Zepos, with guidance from Joan Knapp of Knapp International Associates, credentialing specialists.