If my child ever argued with me about eating their broccoli and instead insisted that their slice of pizza was a serving of vegetables, I wouldn’t just protest their statement but I would think that I had done something horribly wrong in rearing them. This is a topic where Congress and I differ. They’d apparently agree with my 5-year-old.
Let’s get a bit of the back-story. According to NPR, the U.S. Department of Agriculture had proposed that the pizza that is offered in our nation’s public school cafeterias should put a half-cup of tomato paste on the crust for it to be considered to be a serving of a vegetable …
But the proposal to include more sauce was met with much opposition. “A slice of pizza would literally be swimming in tomato paste,” said Corey Henry of the American Frozen Food Institute. They lobbied Congress to get that provision changed. “No kid at school is going to eat a piece of pizza that’s just drenched in tomato paste,” he added. “Tomato paste is almost unique in its ability to provide a very significant amount of critical nutrients and vitamins,” he said in defense of tomato paste, even in smaller quantities than the proposed half-cup.
And their lobbying apparently worked. Now it looks as if the bill will pass when the House votes on it later this week, making the call for more tomato sauce to be killed. Pizza with a scant amount of sauce can be deemed on par with a serving of a vegetable.
“It’s a shame that Congress seems more interested in protecting industry than in protecting children’s health,” wrote Margo Wootan of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. She told NPR’s The Salt, “This [nutrition regulation proposed by Congress] may go down as the biggest nutritional blunder since Reagan tried to declare ketchup as a vegetable.” She added, “It’s ridiculous to call pizza a vegetable.”
Pizza with a vegetable. Yes. Pizza as a vegetable. No way. That’s some kind of 5-year-old kid logic right there.