Greek yogurt packs twice the protein as regular yogurt, but that still hasn’t convinced the federal government to include it in the national school lunch program.
Now, Congressional members from New York and Idaho are crossing party lines to try to get Greek yogurt into school lunchrooms as a protein source.
U.S. Senator Kristin Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and U.S. Representative Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) have joined forces to urge the USDA to reclassify Greek yogurt as a source of protein under the MyPlate nutrition guides.
Gillibrand's and Hanna’s letter has been signed by three Republicans from Idaho: Senator Mike Crapo, Senator Jim Risch and U.S. Representative Mike Simpson, according to an article by the Capital Press, available here.
Currently, Greek yogurt is classified the same as traditional yogurt, despite have double the protein.
“Greek yogurt is packed with healthy protein and should be available to our children in schools,” Gillibrand said in a news release. “It’s time to make this commonsense change in our lunchrooms so our students can thrive in the classroom, and help grow our economy.”
Gillibrand also stressed the impact it would have on New York’s dairy industry, since 70 percent of the country’s Greek yogurt is produced in the state. Idaho, home to the world’s largest Greek yogurt plant, is also a major player in the Greek yogurt industry.
However, not everyone is on board with the move to make Greek yogurt a part of the school cafeteria. The Westchester/Rockland (N.Y.) Newsday reports that cafeteria managers are questioning the proposal. In the end, two things would be the deciding factor for these managers: cost and popularity among students.
However, that doesn’t mean that they necessarily reject the push to bring Greek yogurt into schools.
"We don’t have Greek yogurt here," South Jefferson Central cafeteria manager Cindy A. Overton told Newsday. "I think it would be an excellent choice to have on any grade level. It’s out there in the commercial market, and we’re trying to compete with the commercial market."