The USDA recently launched its National Greek Yogurt Pilot Program that will pilot in Arizona, New York, Idaho, and Tennessee in an effort to increase the nutritional value of the school lunches. The USDA highlights that Greek yogurt is a healthier choice for school children over traditional yogurts, stating that it has less sugar, carbohydrates, sodium, and lactose, and more protein.
At first, the USDA was hesitant as to whether introducing Greek yogurt into schools would be cost-effective, as Greek yogurt is often more expensive than its traditional counterpart. Further, concerns have been raised about how the initiative would handle the possibly toxic whey byproduct that is involved in Greek yogurt production.
Researchers and USDA employees however, have reported these concerns as “non-issues” and plan to proceed with the program for its proposed health benefits.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo also remarks that the Greek yogurt initiative will have beneficial economic consequences for states like New York that are large yogurt producers. New York State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel Aubertine posits that this initiative will be very good for New York agriculture.
Schools and companies across the U.S. are looking to these four pilot states to determine the fate of school lunches in the future.
Through the National Greek Yogurt Pilot Program, the USDA and the U.S. government are showing their commitment to raising their standards for schools across the country, from the classroom to the cafeteria.