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Tuesday, 6 February, 2001, 14:23 GMT
Utah loves Jell-O - official

By Katty Kay in Washington

The state of Utah has made a critical decision. It has elected to have an official state snack.

And not just any snack, but jelly - known in the United States by the commercial name of Jell-O.

Yes, that wobbly, gooey substance much loved at children's birthday parties is now the official snack of the good state of Utah.

The suggestion that Jell-O is the carrot sprinkled glue that keeps families together has pushed me over the edge

Senator Ron Allen
This is not a joke.

Despite vociferous dissent from some lawmakers Utah's state legislature approved the resolution last week.

Apparently the state's capital, Salt Lake City, has earned the dubious distinction of having the highest per capita consumption of Jell-O not only in the US, but in the whole world.

This not without some serious competition. After guzzling its way through gallons of the slithery jelly, Salt Lake City valiantly defeated last year's biggest consumer, Des Moines, Iowa.

Oh yes, someone, somewhere, is recording these important facts.

So now that the state is back in number one position, lawmakers seized the opportunity to make Jell-O Utah's official favourite snack. They have even gone so far as to set aside an official Jell-O week. It has not yet been decided exactly what will happen that week, but it is sure to mean even greater consumption of Jell-O than usual.

Family food?

In Utah to celebrate the news was comedian Bill Cosby, one of Jell-O's most famous salesmen. He insisted this was not just a gimmick for selling more Jell-O but a celebration of Utah as a family state.

Mr Cosby put Utah's spectacular win down to the number of children in the state.

Ice cream is not sexy - it's not wiggly and jiggly

Senator Gene Davis
"I'm proud not because you are the number one in consuming gelatin, but because you are the number one family state," he said. "In consuming all of this pudding, you have said you are a state that brings family wherever you go."

Mr Cosby was made an honorary citizen of the largely Mormon state. Just as well, since he had said that Utahns are becoming an endangered species.

But not all Utahns were so delighted with the resolution. One lawmaker raised serious objections.

"The suggestion that Jell-O is the carrot sprinkled glue that keeps families together has pushed me over the edge," said Senator Ron Allen, casting an opposing vote.

Not content with criticising the Jell-O initiative, another lawmaker even offered a revolutionary counter snack, ice cream.

"Ice cream is not sexy," said Senator Gene Davis. "It's not wiggly and jiggly.

"But it is made in Utah."

In the end though, wiggly and jiggly won out and Jell-O it is: henceforth the official snack of Utah.

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