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Middle School FFA competes and wins at UF

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By Ada Lang

Cedar Key School FAA met 40 of the top FFA teams in the state in the food science competition at the University of Florida on December 4 and came home winners. Cedar Key's Future Farmers of America students included Laia Gore, Brooke Allen, Mikayla Pope, Caitlin Goss, Ariel Alexander, Taryn Epperson, Abby Osteen and Samantha Sapp.

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The team placed third in the state overall and Abby won first place for her contributions to the team.The contest helps members learn about career areas in food science and related industries by competing against others from around the state. They take a written exam about food science safety, regulations, marketing and processing.

The biggest part of the contest is the team activity. The team is given a marketing scenario for which they design a product, determine the ingredients, advertising, market group, profit margin and nutrition label. They are given a scenario and a list of possible ingredients. This year it was a trail mix for the 13- to 23-year-old age group.

They had 40 minutes to prepare an eight-minute presentation to a panel of judges. The judges then asked the team about their product. They also had to identify aromas like ginger, clove, raspberry, etc., in a blind test — 40 flavors in all.

The contestants also performed a triangle test in the UF food lab where they identified the off-brand by taste, smell or texture. Additionally, they received a taste of dealing with customer complaint letters. The students were given a sample complaint letter and had to write a handwritten response to the customer.

Ada Lang, Cedar Key Beacon staff writer and FFA Advisor Denny Voyles contributed to this report..