The Daily Gazette
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Cuomo wants NY tapped for Greek yogurt program

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants New York to be chosen for a federal program evaluating the possibility of serving Greek yogurt in school lunches.

Announced in January, the federal pilot program would weigh the cost-effectiveness of including Greek yogurt in school meal programs. New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Darrel Aubertine made his pitch for New York's inclusion in this program with a letter to USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack.

That letter is available below.

“As the nation’s leader in Greek yogurt production, New York is the natural fit to be selected to implement this pilot program,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Our state government is partnering with the private sector to bring down barriers to business growth, and the results are showing in New York's tremendous yogurt boom. New York State is eager to demonstrate that serving delicious Greek Yogurt in our cafeterias will both improve the health of our children while helping our schools save money – a real win-win."

According to the governor's news release, "This pilot program will demonstrate the benefits of including strained Greek yogurt as a healthy, cost effective food entitlement for school meals. Strained Greek yogurt offers higher nutritional benefits than unstrained yogurt with less sugar, carbohydrates, sodium and lactose as well as an increase in protein per ounce. If the USDA recognizes the higher protein content for strained Greek yogurt, schools offering strained Greek yogurt could save $.02-$.20 per 4 ounce cup. "

The governor hosted a yogurt summit in August to promote growth in the state's Greek yogurt production.

UPDATE, 1:16 p.m.: In response to New York's interest in the pilot program, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer said in a statement:

“Today we are one step closer to getting New York-made, healthy and protein-rich Greek Yogurt on school lunch menus across New York and even the country. It is a positive step that New York State plans to participate in this pioneer pilot program, which will boost nutrition for New York students, all while bolstering business for our dairy farmers and Greek Yogurt producers alike. I am pleased that Governor Cuomo has joined in this effort.”

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Cuomo's Greek Yogurt letter by

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