It's official: Yogurt is New York's state snack.
Citing the hundreds of jobs that yogurt production has created upstate and its high nutritional value, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Wednesday signed into law a bill awarding the snack designation. State lawmakers had overwhelmingly approved the legislation last spring.
New York joins a handful of states with an official snack. They include Utah, with Jell-O; Illinois, popcorn; and Texas, chips and salsa.
New York has produced more yogurt than any other state for the past two years.
Manufacturers such as Chobani and Fage made 741 million pounds of yogurt in upstate factories last year, up from 695 million in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Much of the production has centered on Greek-style yogurt.
Cuomo said, "This designation is a fitting recognition of the importance of the state's yogurt industry, which has experienced tremendous growth."
The snack bills were sponsored by state Sen. Michael H. Ranzenhofer (R-Williamsville) and Assemb. William Magee (D-Cazenovia).
Ranzenhofer said Wednesday that he had gotten the idea for the legislation from a group of fourth-graders from his district when he met with them in the state Capitol.
The Senate adopted the bill, 52 to 8, in late May after a 44-minute debate. In the Assembly, the bill passed 131 to 2 in June.