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Cuomo Signs Bill Making Yogurt Official New York State Snack

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- All kidding aside, New York now has an official state snack, and it is yogurt.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law Wednesday that gives the dairy product official distinction as the state snack.

"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."

The idea of making yogurt the state's official snack came from a 4th-grade class from western New York.

"Yogurt is now the official snack of New York State and the fourth-graders at Byron-Bergen Elementary School deserve all of the credit," the bill's author, State Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, said in a statement. "From initially suggesting the idea to traveling to the State Capitol earlier this year, these students deserve high marks for their efforts to get this legislation signed into law.

But lawmakers have taken some heat for the proposal after the state Senate's 45-minute debate on the bill in June was mocked by David Letterman and Jon Stewart.

During the lengthy debate, Sen. Gustavo Rivera, D-Bronx, wanted to make sure Ranzenhofer had thought the proposal through.

"What exactly are we defining as a snack?" asked Rivera.

"I think it's self-explanatory. I mean, you have breakfast, lunch, and dinner and then you have snacks," said Ranzenhofer.

"Did you consider, say, the potato chip?" Rivera asked, posing the same question about raisins, pretzels, cashews and cheesecake. He then asked: "What if the pretzel was dipped in yogurt?"

Sen. Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan, said she considered those who might be offended by naming yogurt the state snack — namely the lactose intolerant.

A brief discussion about soy yogurt then ensued. Krueger said that might offend the "taste buds of fourth-graders."

Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, D-Queens, also made a last-second appeal that lawmakers consider the carrot cookie instead.

New York is the nation's top yogurt producer, making 741 million pounds of the dairy product last year, well above the 591 million produced by second-place California.

Cuomo has called New York the nation's "yogurt capital.''

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