Obama Ally Lands Major Contract For Michelle’s Healthy School Lunch, Yogurt Will Replace Meat
New York yogurt manufacturer Chobani just landed a massive U.S. Department of Agriculture contract for school lunches after years of lobbying lawmakers and President Obama on its products.
The upstate-New York Greek yogurt maker will be distributing its products to schools nationwide next year as a USDA-approved meat substitute for school lunches, capping off a pilot program in a dozen states made possible by extensive lobbying efforts.
Chobani Greek Yogurt first gained approval by the USDA for school lunches in 2013 as part of a pilot program after U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and other New York lawmakers pressured USDA officials to include it in a pilot program for four states. The USDA’s typically years-long approval process for new products was miraculously slashed to only about 8 months for Chobani.
That pilot program was expanded last year to a dozen states after reportedly positive feedback from students, Syracuse.com reports.
“After at least three calls from the persistent senator, (U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom) Vilsack helped arranged a Sept. 20, 2012 meeting in Schumer’s Capitol Hill office with Kevin Concannon, the key official for food, nutrition and consumer services,” the New York Daily News reports.
Chobani owner Hamdi Ulukaya was also named by President Obama as a “Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship,” which included a “closed-press” meeting with the president at the White House, according to the Daily Sabah.
The special treatment was undoubtedly the result of Ulukaya’s savvy political sense. More