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Yogurt becomes New York's official state snack

Gov. Andrew Cuomo made yogurt New York's official state snack after a state Senate debate triggered by the suggestion of a fourth-grade class.

By Ben Hooper
Plain yogurt. (UPI/Shutterstock/pogonici)
Plain yogurt. (UPI/Shutterstock/pogonici)

ALBANY, N.Y., Oct. 16 (UPI) -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill designating yogurt as the state's official snack five months after a contentious debate in the legislature.

Cuomo signed the bill Wednesday, five months after the state's legislature debated the suggestion from a fourth-grade class at Byron-Bergen Elementary School in Genesee County.

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"This designation is a fitting recognition of the importance of this state's yogurt industry, which has experienced tremendous growth over the past few years, making New York the top yogurt producer in the nation," Cuomo said in a statement. "We will continue to work with New York producers and dairy farmers to build upon this progress and further strengthen this critically important industry."

State Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, R-Amherst, introduced the bill in May, setting off a 50-minute debate that was far from smooth. Democratic lawmakers questioned Ranzenhofer on the floor of the Senate about the definition of the word "snack."

"I think it's self-explanatory," Ranzenhofer responded. "I mean, you have breakfast, lunch and dinner, and then you have snacks. That's the way I would define it, as a snack."

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Numbers released by the Cuomo administration indicate New York took over from California as the nation's top producer of yogurt in 2012 and the state now accounts for 15.7 percent of yogurt production in the United States.

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