Apparently the lobbyists for raisins and candy have been disappointed. Yogurt is officially New York’s “state snack” as of Tuesday, after a long debate and a 52-8 vote.
Naming yogurt as the state’s snack is meant to highlight the fact that New York is now the number one processor of yogurt in the U.S. “Increasing demand for milk, the primary component in yogurt, has helped to support and grow our dairy industry and provide important economic growth to our rural communities,” the snack bill states.
The idea came from a group of fourth-grade students who wrote to state Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer (R-Williamsville) about touting yogurt's qualities as a healthy food. Ranzenhofer was inspired to listen to their suggestion. "The idea for this legislation started in a Genesee County classroom, not at the State Capitol. A lot of credit goes to Craig Schroth and his fourth-grade class at Byron-Bergen Central School District for all of their hard work, research, and study that went into proposing this bill," Ranzenhofer said in a press release. "Today's vote to designate yogurt as the State snack is an example of democracy in action."
Ranzenhofer, the author of the bill, defended yogurt against his opponents during the debate with a “mostly straight face,” according to Newsday. Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx) fired important questions at Ranzenhofer: “Did the sponsor consider raisins as a potential official state snack? Perhaps pretzels? … What if the pretzel was dipped in yogurt? … Cheesecake?” There was also some concern from opponents about people who are lactose intolerant, unable to enjoy yogurt like everyone else.
But Ranzenhofer held his ground. “Yogurt … 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,” the bill states. The bill also notes that yogurt is quite an “important economic driver across the state.”
One of the most beneficial things about yogurt is its probiotics, or active, good bacteria. Probiotics assist in keeping the digestive tract balanced and full of helpful bacteria, which can prevent the growth of bad bacteria in your stomach. Yogurt is also packed with protein, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which can help lower your blood pressure. Calcium also helps build up your bones. And yogurt has been shown to assist weight watchers in losing extra pounds far more quickly than people who didn’t eat yogurt. So it seems like New York’s new state snack may be the right choice, for now.