Shame on Congress. Those of us who still doubted it now have irrevocable proof: this country is a corporate tyranny that only postures as a republic. How else would elected officials obey food industry lobbyists at the expense of school children and public health? If you’re still unconvinced, ponder this: today, the House and the Senate voted a joint House-Senate agriculture spending bill that classifies tomato paste on pizzas as a vegetable, eliminates limitations which keep potatoes and other starchy vegetables–read: French fries–to two servings per week, and weaken restrictions on sodium.
The bill stands in direct opposition to the new dietary recommendations set forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in June, which called for limiting potatoes (a.k.a. French fries), processed foods and sodium, and boosting whole grains and fresh vegetables. Optimists had it that the new food map would be the foundation upon which nutritional and dietary guideline for the federal school lunch program would be built–in the wake of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act signed into law last December.
Think again. Big Food lost no time getting to work to rescue its chestnuts from the fire, as the French saying goes. Its message on Capitol Hill rests on two pillars: 1/ reforming school lunches necessarily requires a budget increase that no one can afford 2/ who does the government think it is that it can tell schools what to feed the kids? (Never mind the fact that taxpayers foot the bill to feed more than 30 million school children, which gives them the right to demand that that food be as healthy as possible).