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What you need to know for 01/19/2017

Yogurt is the snack choice of state Senate

Yogurt is the snack choice of state Senate

After nearly an hour of debate on the state Senate floor Tuesday evening, senators voted in favor of
Yogurt is the snack choice of state Senate
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer tastes yogurt at the Fage production plant in the Johnstown Industrial Park in January 2013.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

At a glance

Other states’ official state snacks or desserts:

• Delaware: Peach pie

• Illinois: Popcorn

• Maine: Blueberry pie

• Massachussetts: Boston cream pie

• Missouri: Ice cream cone

• South Carolina: Boiled peanuts

• South Dakota: Kuchen (German for cake)

• Texas: Tortilla chips and salsa

Source: www.statesymbolusa.org

The debate was so fierce and so long because the stakes were so high. Snacks may never be the same again in New York.

Pass on the popcorn. Say no to nachos. Forego the Fritos. As far as New York is concerned, officially anyway, go with yogurt for your snack.

After nearly an hour of debate on the state Senate floor Tuesday evening, senators voted in favor of making yogurt New York’s official state snack. But several senators expressed (serious) concerns about yogurt as the state’s go-to snack.

•  “Did we ask if we could have other foods as the state snack, or was yogurt the only option?”

•  “Would yogurt from anywhere in the country be acceptable as the New York state snack?”

• “Would yogurt manufacturers be allowed to include ‘official New York state yogurt’ on their labels?”

• “Does the yogurt have to be low-fat and low-sugar?”

• “What about people who are lactose-intolerant?”

• “What if you eat yogurt for breakfast? Is it still a snack?”

• “Will this concern other state snacks for not being named New York’s state snack?” (Wait, snacks have feelings?)

Some senators asked why they were even debating a bill about snacks. Sen. Ruben Diaz, D-Bronx, said he was proud the Senate spent “all this time” debating about yogurt. He was kidding.

“It’s almost seven o’clock, and we are here discussing yogurt,” Diaz said.

The measure passed in the Senate, 52-8, and now awaits a vote by the Assembly before the end of the legislative session.

Sen. George Latimer, D-Rye, took to Twitter to display his disbelief .

“Can you believe the #NYSenate is debating whether we should name ‘yogurt’ as the official state snack. Are you kidding me?” he tweeted.

State Sens. Kathy Marchione, R-Halfmoon, and James Seward, R-Milford, are sponsors of the measure. But why choose yogurt as the official state snack?

Seward said he signed onto the bill because yogurt is a healthy snack option and is also a booming industry in upstate New York, with yogurt manufacturers Chobani, Fage and others located in the state.

Peter McGuinness, chief marketing and brand officer for Chobani, said he was “thrilled” the measure passed. Fage officials did not return a request for comment.

“Thousands of New Yorkers are employed by the yogurt industry upstate,” Seward said. “Yogurt takes a lot of milk to produce, and that has also created an increasing market for dairy farmers. This is a great way to encourage healthy eating and celebrate its success story in New York.”

New York was named the top yogurt producer in the country two years ago. In 2012, New York produced 695 million pounds of yogurt, compared to 234 million pounds in 2007. Earlier this year, New York was also named the third largest milk producer in the nation.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, said “it is only fitting” that yogurt was named as New York’s official state snack. Schumer said yogurt has been a huge economic driver for the state.

“Over the past few years, with the Greek yogurt boom happening across our state, it is clear that New York has become the yogurt capital of the country,” he said. “This snack is a tremendous engine for our economy and a shining, tasty example of what New York has to offer.”

Schumer and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have pushed to get Greek yogurt into New York’s schools. New York, Arizona, Idaho and Tennessee are participating in a federal pilot program that adds Chobani Greek yogurt to school menus.

Steve Ammerman, a spokesman for the state Farm Bureau, said they “appreciate the attention being paid to yogurt,” but stressed it is not the only snack New York has to offer.

“We believe it is just one of many great options grown and made in New York state that people should reach for when they’re hungry,” Ammerman said.

Yogurt marks New York’s first official state snack. The state currently has a state beverage — milk — a state fruit — apple — and a state muffin — the apple muffin.

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