04.21.15

SCHUMER: FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, GREEK YOGURT WILL BE AVAILABLE NATIONWIDE IN SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAMS THROUGH THE USDA SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM; SENATOR ANNOUNCES, STARTING IN FALL 2015, USDA WILL OFFICIALLY EXPAND NATIONWIDE THE GREEK-YOGURT PILOT PROGRAM HE HELPED LAUNCH

Schumer Says Greek Yogurt Will Be Added To The List Of Available Items In The School Lunch Program; After The Last Successful Pilot Program, Which Schumer Helped Make a Reality Across Twelve States, Feds Concluded That There Is Nutritional Value and High Demand For Greek Yogurt

Schumer Previously Urged the USDA to Expand Successful Greek Yogurt Pilot Program, With Idea Of Providing High-Nutrition Protein Option For Kids And Increase Demand For Greek Yogurt Nationwide – NY’s Own Chobani & Upstate Niagara Have Been Selected in Past to Provide Greek Yogurt to School; Other New York Producers Who May Benefit Include: Fage, Alpina and Muller-Quaker

Schumer: USDA School Lunch Program for Greek Yogurt Going from Local ‘Pilot’ to ‘Permanent’ Across the U.SA. – Will be a Benefit to Schoolkids and a Boon For NY Dairy & NY Greek Yogurt Producers

 

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has officially added Greek yogurt to its list of items available in the school lunch program nationwide. Schumer explained that, starting this fall of 2015, the Greek yogurt local pilot program he worked to launch will officially added as an option to the USDA foods list for school meals nationwide. Schumer has long fought to make New York the Greek yogurt capital of the U.S. and to expand and make permanent this pilot program, which was initially available in schools across twelve states. Following the successful pilot program, the USDA concluded that there was high demand for Greek yogurt and that it should be offered nationwide. New York companies like Chobani, Upstate Niagara, Fage, Alpina and Muller Quaker have all worked with Schumer on advancing the popularity and availability of Greek yogurt in New York and across the country, with some even being selected to provide this yogurt to schools in NY, AZ, ID, TN, CA, IA, CT, IL, NC, VT, and WA.

“Starting this fall students across the nation will have the option to balance nutritious and protein-rich Greek yogurt on their lunch trays. In the last few years, New York has quickly become the Greek ycapitol of the country, and Upstate New York dairy farms from Western New York to the North Country to the Hudson Valley benefitted from that growth. So the USDA’s decision to include Greek yogurt, permanently, in their nationwide school lunch program is a nutrional benefit to our kids, an affordable option for local school boards and a boon to New York dairy farmers and yogurt producers; it will increase demand for Greek yogurt across the country, while at the same time providing another healthy food option in the lunchroom,” said Schumer.

Schumer continued, “This is win, win, win that benefits our school kids, Upstate dairy farmers and our rapidly growing Greek yogurt industry.”

Schumer led the charge for the creation of a USDA pilot program for Greek Yogurt – as a part of their School Lunch Program – and has driven the process to include Greek yogurt permanently in the USDA school lunch program since the pilot was created:

  • In January 2013, Schumer announced that he successfully petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to increase the availability of New York-made Greek yogurt in school meal programs in New York State and potentially across the country. In a letter to Schumer, the USDA committed to initiating a pilot program that was expected to increase the availability of Greek yogurt in schools across the country. Specifically, thanks to Schumer's efforts, the USDA initiated this process, which will first increase school's access to Greek Yogurt on a pilot basis
  • Then, on January 31, 2013, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) released a request for information (RFI) to gather information from potential vendors. Respondents indicated capacity to produce such yogurt in a variety of pack sizes and flavors. Based on that data, FNS selected four states to participate in the pilot. States were permitted to order any quantity of high protein yogurt they desired for delivery from September to November 2013 within the balance of their USDA foods entitlement. The four states orders for this time period total 199,800 pounds of yogurt.
  • In March 2014, Schumer announced the initial pilot program would be expanded to twelve states: New York, Arizona, Idaho, Tennessee, California, Iowa, Connecticut, Illinois, North Carolina, Vermont, Washington and Mississippi. Following the news that schools that participated in an initial 3-month Greek yogurt pilot had consumed 200,000 pounds and $300,000-worth of Greek yogurt, Schumer urged the USDA to expand this program to additional states for the 2015 school year in his pursuit of permanently adding this high-nutrition and protein-rich food to the USDA School Lunch Program.

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