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ALBANY -- After soaring oratory and the rhetorical thrusts and parries of New York’s senators from both sides of the aisle, a kernel of an idea drew closer to becoming law Tuesday, and it’s yogurt.
By a 52-8 vote after a lengthy debate the Senate gave its approval to designate yogurt as New York State’s official snack.
Sen. Michael Razenhofer (R-Williamsville) defended the stand with a mostly straight face as he was peppered with questions by senators seeking out the positions pitched by any other snack lobbies such as those for fruits and candy. The debate was lightly mocked even by some lawmakers in the back-and-forth exchanges, and Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) signaled he will soon begin to push his bill to make the wood frog the state’s official amphibian.
“Yogurt,” the bill states, “Is a healthy food that tastes great and is a good source of protein, calcium, vitamin B-12, potassium and magnesium, all nutrients that are an important part of a good diet.”
Then the bills calls yogurt “an important economic driver across the state,” making New York the No. 1 processor in the nation in a boon for dairy farmers.
Before its rise to near-official status, yogurt was already a star in New York. The dairy snack has been the subject of two “yogurt summits” by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Those events brought farmers, processors and state regulators together to try to boost the yogurt production after it had already begun to soar with the nation’s Greek yogurt craze.
Now the bill goes to the Assembly for approval, where it has been sealed in committee since March.