Published On: Mon, Jul 22nd, 2013

USDA rolls out Greek yogurt pilot program to schools, Chuck Schumer linked to Fage, Chobani who win big

School kids across the nation could get an additional Greek fix from in their yogurt, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture kicks off its National Greek Yogurt Pilot Program.

Arizona, Idaho, New York and Tennessee will be the first four states to participate in the project, which is a part of the National School Lunch Program for the 2013 – 2014 school year. The USDA announced in January that it would begin the pilot program to test the cost-effectiveness of including Greek yogurt in school meal programs.

Chobani greek yogurtGreek yogurt offers higher nutritional benefits than traditional yogurt with less sugar, carbohydrates, sodium and lactose, as well as an increase in protein per ounce.

“It is a win-win for the state, exposing our students to a nutritional product and expanding the marketplace for Greek yogurt producers and suppliers in New York State,” he said in a press release Tuesday.

“Grocery shelves across Upstate New York and the country are filled to the brim with Greek yogurt, but unfortunately, despite their high protein and competitive cost, we can’t say the same for New York school children and their school lunch and breakfast menus,” New York Senator Chuck Schumer said in a statement. “That is why I am launching a campaign to work with the USDA and local schools so that New York’s meal programs can say they’ve ‘Got Greek Yogurt.'”

Now Schumer may be key to the New York boom of Greek yogurt, which started with a Fage plant in Johnstown, N.Y and then AgroFarma initiated a Greek-style yogurt line under the Chobani brand, also based in New York state.

$80,000 went to a lobby (Cornerstone Government Affairs) on behalf of the yogurt companies and supported the Schumer initiated DAIRY Act which gives benefits to the New York businesses.

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- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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