USDA launches Greek yogurt program in national schools
July 10th, 2013
10:00 AM ET
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In addition to the studies of Odysseus and Homer, school kids across the nation could get an additional Greek fix from in their yogurt, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture kicks off its National Greek Yogurt Pilot Program.

Arizona, Idaho, New York and Tennessee will be the first four states to participate in the project, which is a part of the National School Lunch Program for the 2013 – 2014 school year. The USDA announced in January that it would begin the pilot program to test the cost-effectiveness of including Greek yogurt in school meal programs.

Greek yogurt offers higher nutritional benefits than traditional yogurt with less sugar, carbohydrates, sodium and lactose, as well as an increase in protein per ounce. The ballooning demand for the dairy option has created a $2 billion industry.

New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, was particularly happy that his state, the largest producer of yogurt in the nation in 2012, had been chosen as part of the pilot.

“It is a win-win for the state, exposing our students to a nutritional product and expanding the marketplace for Greek yogurt producers and suppliers in New York State,” he said in a press release Tuesday.

Alarms have been raised about the byproduct disposal in the industry, claiming that the surplus of acid whey could be dangerous to waterways.

An article in Modern Farmer in June suggests that the disposal or accidental dispersal of the byproduct could, “turn a waterway into what one expert calls a ‘dead sea,’ destroying aquatic life over potentially large areas.

John Lucey, director of the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research, however, told CNN that the concerns were “a complete red herring, a non-issue.”

“The suggestion that acid whey is some toxic material is just plain silly,” he said.

CNN’s Molly Hart contributed to this report

Previously - Whey-ing Greek yogurt's environmental impact

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Filed under: Business and Farming News • Farms • News • School Lunch

soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. gianghilenguyen

    Reblogged this on Unicorns Have Fists.

    July 16, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • K.

      Good to know.

      July 25, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  2. terrel owens

    how about the criminal elements in govt stop Geoengineering the planet's atmoshpere (google: stratoshperic aerosol geoengineering) and maybe we can enjoy blue sky once again and we can start saving the enviroment from the top down. And our health!

    July 14, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • katey

      rather difficult for "us" to SAVE the PLANET from much of anything, wouldn't you agree? . . . considering all the pollution going GLOBALLY from China, Russia, India, and shall I go on and on and on? Of course we must not forget the middle east which it's grimy paws on every nerve gas, aka . . . nuclear arsenal KNOWN ON THE PLANET??? And we are literally in a melt down over faddish food craze? WOW and WOW. . . freaking DIRT BAGS!!

      October 7, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
  3. Olivia Aaron

    I don't think it's bad for you but I think it's just another diet fad. I don't click on these stories very often anymore because health fads come and go so often.

    July 13, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • katey

      Yup. . . and this "fad" will run it's course ONCE the present Political Administration is happily LONG GONE!! Wine for them, kool-aide for the mere slow and lowly... blah, blah, blah, so sick of MO's mouth!! Even more sickening, IF POSSIBLE, BO and JOE. . . Nanny and Harry, too!! Poof, , , plz, plz, plz will these idiots EVER LEAVE US ALONG??? Counting and patiently waiting out the remaining last 3 years, 65 days, 55 seconds "they" have left!! Don't worry. . . BE HAPPY!!

      October 7, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
  4. bill

    If you have ever tasted real yogurt, you would not call any of the mass produced, pasteurized crap food. Best way to make kids healthier....abolish the FDA.

    July 13, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • rh

      Yeah, good luck with eating unpasteurized food in a city or suburbia.

      July 13, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
      • katey

        most Americans or even the French have no "desire," to go with "unpasteurized," we aren't a third world nation. . . not "quite," yet anyway!! What ever in the world actually happened to the simple theory. . . to each his own??? Mandates, mandates, socialism, liberalism, communist, imperialism, . . . it ALL UN-AMERICAN!!

        October 7, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • katey

      Here yet ANOTHER novel idea. . . if "only" the CORRECT person/lady/people would actually "get the message," HOW about this Federal Government and non-elected wife, and other family members in Washington DC . . . stay in the business of doing "RESPONSIBLE" and POSITIVE things for this "Country," and LEAVE the school LUNCHES and for that matter, ALL FOOD CHOICES to the "child/children's PARENT(s)!!" What the hell is going on since the present "administration," took office??? Oh, never mind. . . golfing, hoops, vacationing, golfing, hoops, vacationing, vacationing, vacationing, vacationing, vacationing . . . okay, that's about it for this bunch of BAFOONS!! Stay out of OUR children's breakfast, lunches, and dinner!! Get fired up and TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS. . . for the American PEOPLE. . . leave Malik to the brotherhood's business, and sent Michelle back into "her" garden and Stay the Hell out of OURS!!!

      October 7, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
  5. zhoro

    There is nothing specifically Greek about 'Greek' yogurt. It is what real yogurt is, as everywhere on the Balkans, for example. All the bastardized sugar-loaded versions that most people use are hardly yogurt.

    July 12, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
  6. JFCanton

    Why would Greek yogurt have less sugar than regular? The only difference should be that you're not sweetening the extra whey. I suppose that if the removed whey is so acidic, maybe you don't have to sweeten it as much to get the sweets-addicted American consumer to eat it?

    We make strained yogurt at home; we don't get nearly as much whey as the industrial process (in the link about "byproduct disposal" it says that by volume there is 2x as much whey as yogurt). Maybe they have to skim large batches and that reduces the volume of solids. I'd say that we get more product than whey, though I'm usually the cook, not the strainer.

    July 11, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
  7. Jen

    Real Greek yoghurt, or some artifical version packed full of food additives?

    July 11, 2013 at 9:37 am |
  8. VladT

    I would prefer the headline "US reintroduces Physical Education that is not centered on pointless self esteem "exercises" rejoice." Add a nutrition course too....randomly inserting a "healthier" food product will not magically increase the health of the student population.

    How about take that money and purchase sports equipment, hire PE coaches, etc?

    Nope, Yogurt from the mediterranean will be the cure-all

    July 11, 2013 at 6:12 am |
    • ed dugan

      I see where you're going but excersize is much better at keeping a person fit rather than making him lose weight. Nothing is going to work unless the parents buy into it and that ain't going to happen. Most of them are grossly overweight and pretty ignorant as well. If they can't stop smoking infront of their kids I doubt you will change their eating habits. Oh well, fat people die sooner so it isn't all bad.

      July 11, 2013 at 11:42 am |
      • VladT

        Haha....I agree to some points, though not as blunty. Gave me a good chuckle though with your last line. I do think, however, that more P.E. classes would help, as if they are burning calories, it will help them to lose weight, rather than Yogurt from Mount Olympus

        July 12, 2013 at 3:05 am |
    • Rachael

      This is a great idea. All the negative comments just show that no matter what the government does, there will always be critics. Greek yogurt is yummier than regular yogurt and kids easily like it. Sure kids should be doing PE too, but that doesn't mean it is bad to improve school lunches. Just because it is being added to school lunches in a pilot program, does not mean that anyone thinks it is a cure-all, just a tasty, healthy addition to lunch. There is important for the US to is great to seek out and find nutritious, healthy foods that kids like and improve school lunches by including them. I would have no complaint to adding 30 minutes to the school day and funding for PE teaches so that every US child gets 30 of PE a day. If the US wants to improve the health of children and the adults the grow into, we need more programs like this. This is a great start!

      July 12, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
      • VladT

        Most kids don't get exercise, as evidenced by growing obesity. Kids will still eat crap at home. Spend the extra money to teach nuitrition classes and Physical Education. I've had Greek yogurt....its ok, but I am not a big yogurt fan regardless.

        It's not so much critical of the government, its critical of how we must make schools cater to problems that parents should be handling. Want a healthier school lunch? Bring your own. A sandwich, some carrots, an apple, and a cookie or two is pretty healthy ( It got me through school years, and at age 31, am skinny and athletic ). Not bragging, just saying, take some responsibility, people. Don't rely on the schools to feed your kids "magic yogurt." Take an extra 5 minutes and make them a healthy lunch, or teach them responsibility and have them make their own.

        Wow, I think I went on a little tangent there ;)

        July 13, 2013 at 2:43 am |
        • RC

          Agreed. I never ate "school lunches", nor did my daughter. P.E. was much more important when I was in school. My daughter ran track all through school and rode horses on her own time. Kids these days just have it too soft. Sad.

          July 13, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
  9. Bill

    Just another way to shovel Corn Sugar into mouths!
    Gobble Gobble Gobble= Fat Fat Fat

    July 11, 2013 at 4:42 am |
  10. Jayakumar

    This is very misguided. ACtually, hardly any scientific studies have shown that greek yogurt has any more nutrition factors or live cultures than regular yogurt has. It has more fat, but also more protein and THAT is the only advantage it has over regular yogurt. The CONS overcome the PROS a lot. To prepare one gallon of greek yogurt, you got to use up 4 gallons of milk, compared to a 1:1 ratio for regular yogurt. This suggest an inefficient use of milk which contributes to more cows, more methane and more enivironmental carbon footprint. I wish americans would do some research before the go behind every fad they see on the internet.

    July 10, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
    • imsorrysir

      Nonfat greek yogurt provides more calcium and protein per ounce without added fat, As for the carbon footprint, think of it this way. If you had to eat two cups of regular yogurt to get the required daily amount of protein, now you can get it in only one cup. That not only saves packaging but also reduces transportation costs (instead of two cups only one cup needs to travel). The amount of cow milk need to produce will be same in both cases (2 cups of regular against 1 cup of greek) so mithane production will be same too. Also it's easier to get kids to eat smaller portions.

      July 11, 2013 at 1:36 am |
      • imsorrysir


        July 11, 2013 at 1:38 am |
    • Jon

      The idea is for the Greek yogurt to be a protein substitute in school lunches. The comparison is not between Greek and regular yogurt but between low fat Greek yogurt and say chicken nuggets. The Greek yogurt wins.

      July 11, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • Bill Klinton

      more cows = more steaks chops and burgers YUM you numbskull

      July 11, 2013 at 11:06 am |
      • Nikki

        There are milk cows and cattle used for the meat industry. Holsteins & guernseys are common milk cows. Herefords are usually the beef cattle.

        July 11, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • SixDegrees

      Uh – the difference between regular yogurt and Greek yogurt is trivial: Greek yogurt is regular yogurt that has been strained. You can make it yourself in your refrigerator by dumping regular yogurt into a cheesecloth-line strainer over a bowl overnight.

      That would be why it takes "more" milk and Greek yogurt has more nutrients than plain – you're removing water. It's simply more concentrated.

      Your mumblings about "efficiency" are pure twaddle.

      July 13, 2013 at 4:07 am |
  11. ney

    another good policy is walking to school, it might help children to loose weight, improve concentration in classroom, and reduce carbon emissions, let alone it will save a cuple of milliones to our nation.

    July 10, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • Jayakumar

      Nope. Regular Greek yogurt has more fat than regular american yogurt, unless otherwsie it is prepared from non-fat milk. But then non-fat regular yogurt would do the same job for far less environmental impact. Greek yogurt has a much larger carbon footpriint than reguilar yogurt has, something companies dont advertise.

      July 10, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
  12. ney

    How about, bring your own launch policy. That might save a couple of bucks to tax payers. It is a reflection of independence, autonomy, originality, out of conformism. You eat what you want, in other words Freedom. Kalimera :)

    July 10, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • Nikki

      'Bring your own launch"? Guess that'd work – launches would have more fiber . . . .

      July 11, 2013 at 11:37 am |
      • Katie

        Would LOVE to see no more replies pointing out minimal typing errors, especially when you know exactly what the person is trying to say. It would reduce the number of pointless comments and focus on the actual content of the discussion. Now, those comments written with so many grammatical and typographical errors that it's actually comical - that's warranted!

        July 11, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • l33theart

      Never mind the many, many kids who are on the free- or reduced-cost school lunch program because their families cannot afford to pack them a nutritious lunch each day?

      July 12, 2013 at 11:40 am |
      • John in WNY

        But that's because the money they are given to feed their kids is insteaded used for poweraid, candy and chips.

        July 12, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
        • JeremyH

          Make a point John. Don't just throw out some pseudo-rascist remark.

          July 12, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
  13. Thinking things through

    Well, I guess it is better than that sugary, waxy concoction that is known as Yoplait.

    I buy plain (or sometimes, vanilla) yogurts: goat yogurt, Stonyhill yogurt, or a yogurt from a nearby dairy, all of which seem to be keeping quality up, at least better than most of the Greek varieties on the market here. If I wish, I add in fresh fruit.

    July 10, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
  14. Bobba_Fett

    When regulations make playgrounds too expensive, and when lawsuits turn playground injuries into multi-million dollar jackpots, and when bullies don't need to use their fists anymore, the logical key to health is most definitely, greek yogurt.

    July 10, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
  15. Ray Kroc

    I wasn't Greek, but gyros are next.

    July 10, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
  16. G Hoffman

    People like Greek yogart because it is high in FAT, often around 16%. Most low fat milk yogart is around 4%; much more healthy.

    July 10, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • EaglesQuestions

      Every greek yogurt brand has low-fat and fat-free options.

      July 10, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
      • Jayakumar

        Yeah. just like regular yogurt. But remember that it takes 4 gallons of milk to make one gallon of greek yogurt unlike 1 gallon for regular milk. This suggests an increased carbon footprint (more cows maks more methane and involves more fodder).

        July 10, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
        • John in WNY

          Who cares, would you prefer everyone eat Twinkies instead, now that they are available again.

          July 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Yolo Bob

      What exactly is 'yogart', art with yoga? :rolleyes:

      Greek yogurt in the market is between 4% (whole) to 2% and 1% (low fat) plus 0% (fat free).

      By the way: Real Greek yogurt is produced only by the FAGE brand, all the other so-called Greek yogurts in the US market contain artificial sweeteners and substitutes.

      July 10, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
  17. rjsenterp

    I tried Greek yogurt and it is disgusting. The consistency is like white paste glue. Yuk!

    July 10, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Really?

      I would not know...I have never eaten white paste glue. I am surprised that you have a frame of reference.

      July 10, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • Springsgranny

      Greek yogurt is soooo much better than regular yogurt. Try putting some fruit in it and some granola or other cereal. It's a great breakfast and very healthy too. I've been eating it for about 4 years. Love it!

      July 10, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Edwin

      I had the same first impression. I love the stuff now. Might I recommend that you try different brands, as well as mixing some fruit and/or granola into it? Makes for a suprisingly hearty breakfast.

      July 10, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • Nikki

      Some of it is nasty, but not all. You need to try more than Yoplait or Dannon (yuck) for greek yogurt. Fage does take a bit of adjustment at first. It is not extremely sweet and the texture is different. I find that if I allow it to warm up a bit, it has better taste. Fage does have a non-fat version - I can't tell it apart from the fat version. Black and hispanic folks have more problems with lactose intolerance than whites, but they can eat yogurt. The yogurt is much healthier than vending machine snacks.

      July 11, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • imsorrysir

      Try greek yogurt from Trader Joe's if you have one nearby. It has much better texture/ taste/consistency that Fage. It does not contains any artificial products as well. In fact TJ was one of the first few stores that launched greek yogurt (around 2005) before it became ubiquitous.

      July 11, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • Cheap Greek

      Want cheap Greek yogurt? Take some cottage cheese, blend it 'til smooth, add whatever these other people are suggesting if that floats your boat and eat. Same taste.

      July 22, 2013 at 7:36 am |
  18. Mandor

    Greek yogurt is indeed very tasty and quite healthy. While it tends to be more expensive, it's absolutely worth it in my book.

    But exercise is probably far more important than a particular kind of yogurt to the health of many children in the USA.

    July 10, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Jayakumar

      How is it more healthier.... more protein yes.. and that is the only thing that differentiates it from regular yogurt. But it also has more fat than regular yogurt, and also takes more milk (4 gallons to make one gallon greek yogurt) than regualr yogurt (1:1 conversion ratio) and thus contributing to the environment pollution (more cows.).

      July 10, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
      • Nic

        OK!! We get it. The hippie nation has spoken. Stop worrying about the carbon footprint of a fad. Greek yogurt is a fad. Worry about your own carbon footprint or how many slaves you help to keep that way. In fact the computer you used to type the replies on has a slave rate. Here educate yourself on something that you can do yourself to improve the world and quit worrying about a fad and repeating the same thing over and over to the point of annoying anyone who might take you thoughts into consideration. Go here and remember to be honest about your own use of products and fads

        July 11, 2013 at 9:16 am |
        • Nik without a C

          Stop with the Racism. we are not slaves. By the way I exercise at least 40 min on the treadmill or least go for a walk somewhere. I always want to be out and about not in front of the Computer screen or TV for that matter, I have been a taste taster for yogurt of FAGE and it does take time gettting use too. The hippie is right and guess what I am glad to reduce my Carbon footprint. I stopped buying trader Joes Yogurt and I always buy from Ralph's, because there's is fresh every day and we do a lot of Physical activity. Pushing carts is one way, the other way is send kids to the City Bus Stop which is 7 miles from my house. That is how I stayed in shape. So Greek Yogurt is Delicious, Stony Brook Yogurt is on brand I know that sells fast. I try all of the Yogurts at home and my favorite one is Mountain Side Plain yogurt plus Greek One Yogurt is good if you eat it, We need to get back to P.E. and Hire more teacher for P.E. I did a lot of P.E. when I was in High School. Tennis was one, the other running the Mile, Walking to all my classes. My point is Eat the Greek Yogurt and Kids Listen to Mom and Dad, eat less processed foods and eat more carrots, you will thank me later.

          July 13, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
  19. CW

    I have been the healthiest I have been once I took the diary products out of my life.

    July 10, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • CW


      July 10, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Veganman

      Agreed! "Dairy" and "Healthy" should never be used in the same sentence.

      July 10, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
    • Rachael

      Dairy is an important part of a child's diet. Vegan adult tastes should not be imposed on children. Yogurt is an ideal way to encourage kids to eat healthy foods.

      July 12, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
  20. beeg

    Just dump a botaload of cola in a waterway and you'll likely see a "dead zone" as well!

    July 10, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
  21. The China Study

    Great! Now we can further promote cancer development among our children.

    July 10, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
  22. rf

    Hate to break it to the sheep but yogurt is yogurt. Greek has nothing to do with it!

    July 10, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Springsgranny

      There is a major difference!

      July 10, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • Jayakumar

      Nope. Greek yogurt is made through a filtering process which concentrates regular yogurt and makes it more thicker... It also removes the whey more than regualr yogurt. having said that, there is not much nutirtional differences between the two, except that Greek yogurt has slightly more protein, MORE FAT and take 4 times more milk to make it than regualr yogurt all of which is not very good. It is just the latest fad, thats all, among people who cannot read science.

      July 10, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
  23. Bob Levittan day there are articles telling you how the by-products of the manufacturing process for Greek yogurt is creating a huge problem because they are toxic and no-one knows yet how to get rid of it, and then the next day there's an article telling you how good it is for you....confusing

    July 10, 2013 at 11:39 am |
  24. Unegen

    I can't wait for some redneck 'Murkin to start protesting this because it's GREEK yogurt, dagnabbit, it's not 'Murkin! USA! USA!....and then insist they feed the kids some good old 'Murkin yogurt like Yoplait or Dannon...which are both French brands. It will happen, just wait.

    July 10, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • VladT

      I can't wait for some nincompoop to stereotype Americans at a failed attempt at humor.

      Yay, my wish came true!

      July 11, 2013 at 6:03 am |
  25. SixDegrees

    Unfortunately, I see this going the same way ordinary yogurt has – companies will simulate the thicker texture of Greek yogurt by adding various gelling agents in order to save money and work around the waste issues, and the result will be...disappointing, at best.

    There's nothing special about Greek yogurt. You can easily make it yourself. Line a mesh strainer with cheesecloth; dump regular yogurt into it; place over a bowl in the refrigerator over night. In the morning, toss the water that's drained off and save the now-drained, thickened yogurt that remains.

    Greater demand will surely lead to more expensive, lower quality stand-ins for the real thing. I see manufacturers are already mixing in loads of processed fruit and sugars to boost sales. We're going to wind up with a "yogurt-like food product" before this is all over.

    July 10, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • Jayakumar

      They already doing that by adding pectin to give it a more jelly like apeparance. The health nuts will buy anything that the media potrays as healthy.

      July 10, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
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