Lighter Side: N.Y. yogurt debate lands on Letterman, Stewart

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What started as a lesson on the legislative process quickly turned into legislative silliness, snagging the attention of Jon Stewart and David Letterman.

According to the Associated Press, the New York Senate’s debate to declare yogurt the state’s official snack was originally intended to teach a class of fourth-grade students about government. Lawmakers spent 45 minutes debating the bill, mulling the distinction between snacks and meals.

The bill was introduced at the urging of students from Genesee County in western New York, a county populated by a large number of dairy producers and processors.

"We're a dairy farming community, and there's huge pride in that," said Casey Kosiorek, the local superintendent of schools. "This has been a chance for some true authentic learning."

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For both Stewart and Letterman, however, the debate turned into fodder for their respective television shows.

Stewart called the deliberations "maybe the best 40 minutes" of legislative debate ever on “The Daily Show.”

"Even the fourth graders who brought this up in the first place are like, `They're still talking about the state snack?'" Stewart said.

On CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman,” the debate called the segment “New York State: Your Tax Dollars at Work.” Watch the clip here; the segment starts around the 3:30 mark.  

New York became the yogurt capital of the United States last year, having produced 692 million pounds of yogurt in 2012. Yogurt plants in New York have tripled production since 2008, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has lifted many environmental regulations to encourage milk production.

Thanks to the state’s thriving yogurt companies, the New York dairy industry is booming. Chobani, the country’s top Greek yogurt producer, says that 93 percent of the milk used by its New York plant comes from local dairies.

See, “New York becomes yogurt capital of the nation.”



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