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Congress Calls Pizza A Vegetable

Jessica Winterbauer |
November 20, 2011 | 3:22 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter


Congress' new spending bill would make pizza a vegetable. (Creative Commons/Flickr)
Congress' new spending bill would make pizza a vegetable. (Creative Commons/Flickr)
Congress’ new spending bill would deny funding to healthier school lunches and effectively declare pizza a vegetable. 

The bill works against standards set earlier this year by the USDA; standards that would fill students’ plates with more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and decrease their intake of sodium and saturated fat, reports CNN.  Under Congress' new standards, two tablespoons of tomato paste would qualify as a serving of vegetables.

Two of the bill’s biggest supporters are the American Frozen Food Institute and the National Potato Council.  According to ABC, the two groups spent a combined $440,000 on lobbying efforts.  It’s no coincidence, then, that frozen pizza and French fries are two foods the bill is fighting to keep on the table. 

In a nation whose second leading cause of preventable death is obesity, the bill raises major health concerns.

"If finalized, this legislation may go down in nutritional history as a bigger blunder than when the Reagan Administration tried (but failed) to credit ketchup as a vegetable in the school lunch program," said Margo Wootan, Nutrition Policy Director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "Pizza should be served with a vegetable, not count as one," Wootan said. 

 But some argue that schools can deliver nutritional meals without the stricter, more expensive standards proposed by the USDA. 

 “What we are saying is if you serve a slice of pizza with 2 tablespoons of vegetable paste, it can be an important way to deliver a number of vegetables that children will actually consume,” Corey Henry, spokesman for the American Frozen Food Institute, told ABC.

The House and Senate are expected to vote on the bill later this week.


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Anonymous (not verified) on November 25, 2011 8:00 AM

Yes, because giving children "vegetable paste" should serve as a vegetable. Pizza is not a vegetable and shouldn't be counted as one. I have shame against the congress for ever thinking of such a thing, because they aren't willing to spend the money necessary for more vegetables and fruits in school lunches, it just goes to show how they're not worried about the people of their country, but about MONEY.

Anonymous (not verified) on November 21, 2011 11:07 AM

everyone calm down, congress was stupid in saying this, but everyone needs to take a chill pill!!!

Anonymous (not verified) on November 21, 2011 8:24 AM

Why yes, Congress, this will help minimize our climbing obesity rate!

Anonymous (not verified) on November 21, 2011 6:24 AM


Anonymous (not verified) on November 21, 2011 6:24 AM


Anonymous (not verified) on November 21, 2011 2:23 AM

This is just ridiculous! I hope you now come to realize why every other country laughs in our face. We are the most obese nation in the world because people can't stopped feeding their gullets with preservatives and fast food! There is no vegetable on a plain pizza, a tomato is a fruit! Congress, you have let us down once again! Thank you for adding to the national obesity rate, the death till, lower education, and a country based upon frozen food that will give us cancer in the end! Congratulations once again for ruining this country.

Anonymous (not verified) on November 21, 2011 1:20 AM

Why does everyone keep linking pizza with obesity? I'm pretty sure pizza is a rather healthy food compared to other types of fast food, and instead of arguing about whether it should count as a vegetable, just measure the d*** vitamin and nutrient content of a slice of pizza and compare it to several vegetables. Stop arguing and get some facts.

Anonymous (not verified) on November 21, 2011 9:33 AM

With all do respect, I used to work in Pizza hut, there is about 2000 calories in a medium cheese pizza...that is worst then 3 medium big macs from Mac. Donalds...I love Pizza but it does not matter how you make it, or whether it is from fast food chains etc. it is a bad source of crap in the diet. The problem with America and obesity is nothing necessarily with the fast food chains. Eating it in modesty isn't terrible. Im in good physical shape, and eat fast food maybe once a week. The problem is that a) there is a lack of control on the part of the people eating it b) people don't seem to know how to cook healthily and c) fast food is cheap! You would be a fool to think Pizza is a source of vegetable...why not argue that because Big.Macs have lettuce that should count as one of your veggies a day!

This is simply an example of lobbiest twisting facts...yest two spoons for tomato what ever is technically good for you, but that much cheese and dough is not...you cant think that eating veg cancels out all the other crap your eating...I feel sorry for your country...

Anonymous (not verified) on November 21, 2011 2:00 AM

Pizza is healthy, until you get it from fast food places. It's covered in grease and filled with preservatives. You say that we should compare the nutritional value of pizza to vegetables as if there would be any comparison, and the fact that you assume there would be makes me shudder to think how your waistline has been affected because of it. But since you are demanding facts (yet failed to give any yourself)"A commercially purchased cheese pizza contains 272 calories for the average slice, up to 350 calories for stuffed crust varieties, and 480 calories for slices that pile on several types of meat and feature a stuffed crust. While a slice of regular cheese contains about 10 g of fat, some with extra meat and cheese contain up to 28 g of fat per slice, 10 g of which is saturated. Frozen pizzas contain an average of 432 calories and 22 g of fat for 1/3 of a 15 oz. product with pepperoni."
Now find me one vegetable that compares. And we, in fact, SHOULD be arguing about whether or not the government should declare pizza to be a vegetable because well that's what they're talking about aren't they? And I find it outrageous that someone was even idiotically courageous enough to come out and suggest something so dumb-founding.

Anonymous (not verified) on November 20, 2011 9:26 PM

Okay, I heard about this thinking it was a joke, but apparently not? The obesity rate is increasing exponentially, and it's very clear that it's because of politicians like these guys that don't seem to care about anything other than profit for themselves. It really seems like the movie "Idiocracy" is going to be true, and it's going to happen a lot sooner than we think.