The U.S. Department of Agriculture has decided to continue and expand a program that added Greek yogurt to school lunches, federal lawmakers said this week.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, and Rep. Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld, announced the success and expansion of the USDA pilot program to serve New York-based Chobani yogurt in school lunches.
“Greek yogurt like Chobani is packed with healthy protein that our schoolchildren deserve access to in their school lunches,” Gillibrand, the first New Yorker to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in nearly four decades, said in a media release Thursday.
“New York State is home to a strong and growing Greek yogurt industry,” she said. “When we connect Chobani to lunchrooms across the state and across the country, we can give our children better access to healthy, nutritious food, while strengthening New York’s own dairy industry.”
Gillibrand said she was pleased to work with Hanna, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, and the USDA to “build on this promising initiative.”
Schumer reported this week that the three-month pilot project that started in September was “a great success.” Children at participating schools in New York, Tennessee, Idaho and Arizona consumed 200,000 pounds of Greek yogurt worth $300,000, said Schumer, who supported an expanded program.
Gillibrand and Hanna said after the expansion of this program to four additional states, a new bidding process in the months ahead to determine which company will source the Greek yogurt in these states. The Greek yogurt pilot program also will promote the health benefits of Greek yogurt, which has twice the protein, less sodium and fewer carbohydrates than regular yogurt, the lawmakers’ release said.
Chobani in Chenango County is a leading producer of Greek yogurt.
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