No Joke: Congress Considers Bill That Would Give “Vegetable Status” To Pizza

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pizzaNew York – The fight over school lunch nutrition has gotten a little strange. Congress is now considering an amendment to an appropriations bill that would give vegetable status to pizza. But no matter how you slice it, some disagree.

You could call it the “defense of pizza act” in congress – a measure designating the sauce on a slice as a veggie. Industry sources admit it is a move to keep pizza in the school lunch mix.

Nutritionists, however, are horrified.

“It really doesn’t make any sense,” Nutritionist Elizabeth DeRobertis told CBS 2′s Lou Youg. “You can’t exchange pizza for broccoli.”

The debate surrounds some members of Congress going after the White House’s school lunch nutrition guidelines.

Lobbyists from the American Frozen Food Institute argue that the amount of sauce currently required by federal regulations for it to qualify as a vegetable is too much and makes for a soggy slice. So they’ve complained to Congress and some members are trying to comply.

“I think it’s a bad decision. I think it’s letting our kids down,” Nutritionist Elyssa Hulbert said. “I think we owe to it to our kids to be thinking more about how to increase the nutritional density of what we offer them.”
The frozen food industry says 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce should be considered a vegetable serving, which is about what you get on a slice. So it’s a veggie they say. New York pizza experts don’t see it.

“It’s bread with sauce and cheese,” said Ricky Colligan, of Sophia’s Pizza in Harrison.

“Its just bread – bread, sauce,” said Blanca Garcia.

But pizza is certainly delicious, even if a little light on nutrients. One 6th grader told Young what he thinks will happen if pizza is declared a veggie.

“We eat the pizza instead of vegetables,” Joshua Garcia said.
Many say it’ll be more of what already goes on in too many school lunchrooms.

The tomato sauce pizza vote could come later this week.

Lobbyists for the potato industry are already pressuring members of Congress about a provision that would limit starchy vegetables – like french fries – in school lunches as well.

{CBS 2/ Newscenter}


  1. how foolish. its empty nutrition. add vegies to it and then it will be worth something. they are just asking for more medical bills because people will be not getting the nutrition they need.

  2. Talk about dumbdown, this takes the cake. Pizza has tomato sauce (which today probably has almost no nutrition as most fruits and vegetables, unless organic, are almost completely void of its natural nutrition). Sure they are not going to add the broccoli, mushrooms, etc. anyway on top of the pizza like one buys in a pizza shop. Really, how is it possible to call it a vegetable? Children are the pawns in today’s era of greed of those who control. It’s not the starchy food as they say – French fries are bad because they’re fried but what about baked potatoes or mashed without all the fat in it. It’s the preparation of foods, not the natural food itself (eventhough, today’s food, as mentioned above is really lacking its nutritional value, but better than nothing, I guess). Poor kids.

  3. The “Letting our kids down” argument is a bit old.
    The Rules in place now are very restrictive and, in a sense, silly. No potatoes allowed for breakfast? No white bread at all? No cookies or birthday cakes allowed?
    No joke:
    “We can’t just leave it up to the parents”.
    – Michelle Obama
    The jokes on us. If calling pizza a veggie is the way to circumvent theses overreaching new rules then I’m all for it.

  4. How self-righteous we all are! The USA is davening over whether pizza is a vegetable – and YOU (and ME) can’t make up our minds if its mezonos or motzei!


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