Pizza is a Vegetable. Really Congress?

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).

At any rate, the frozen food industry made no bones claiming victory. The trade group American Frozen Food Institute immediately released a statement that “commends” appropriators for their “balanced approach to implementing new school meal standards.”

Even before the final vote in the House and in the Senate, Thursday, public health advocates had raised the red flag. Foreign celebrity chefs who’ve been campaigning ceaselessly to save this country from the diabetes epidemic that is threatening the new generation of kids with a shorter lifespan than their parents, are reeling. The military brass calls the bill a “national disgrace.” “This new effort to undermine school nutrition regulations raises national security concerns,” said Amy Dawson Taggart, director of the national security nonprofit Mission: Readiness, a non-profit, nonpartisan national security organization led by over 250 retired generals, admirals, and other senior military leaders. Their concern is ensuring the perennity of the U.S. military, when one youth in four already is unfit for service because of obesity.

The USDA is going to have to change its final rules—due out by the end of the year—to comply with the new legislative language. Critics can only hope that these rules will be changed again when the bill expires at the end of next year.

I’m curious to see if First Lady Michelle Obama, America’s queen of healthy food and lifestyle, pipes up. She’s been a driving force behind both the new school lunch legislation, and the ex-new USDA dietary recommendations. This time around, Barack may end up on the couch for real.

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KS Goh
KS Goh3 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Silvia G.
Silvia G.3 years ago


Sarah Metcalf
Sarah M.3 years ago

so disheartening

Walter G.
Walter g.4 years ago

Don S, to see where the insanity may end, first consider the long gone but not lamented "Wiemar Republic," which inflated itself while destroying forests to print worthless money. Next consider the elected morons who initiate wars we cannot win, while turning large portions of the political world against us. Hey, what happened to the Soviet union, and why? Now we're doing the same thing, even using their old bases, and it is bleeding us dry! next consider what our government has allowed corporations to do to us, and then take a look at Europe, which tried to imitate us, so now they're falling into the same pit of historic obscurity! Water boarding may be an Olympics sport next games year, and Social Security has been riddled with borrowing using worthless bonds for collateral. Our banks are collapsing, our money is worthless, and China owns us. I know people going to China from the US to work! The insanity may end when China, in the background takes over, and we won't like the result. Walter G.

Walter G.
Walter g.4 years ago

If Pizza is a vegetable, so is our Congress! Congress is a rotten vegetable which needs drastic cutting to save any of it. Next year if a voter ignores the stupid babble of speeches, the dead pan comedy of "debates," and the racketeering and moronic chicanery of party conventions, but instead makes the decision exclusively by the legislator's record, most of the so called Lawmakers may be replaced. Vote them out if you think they did not deliver. The message to the replacements will be, "Produce or this is your only term, which may even be interrupted by impeachment." Nothing like a sweating, stressed office holder to understand who is in charge. The danger is of course the dumbed down millions, the "sheeple" who ignore their future for the sake of entertainment or recreational drugs. The country is already in shambles, we are headed for the same break up as is the Soviet Union. Welcome to United States Titanic! Cold hard economic facts trump an iceberg any day. What did you do, what are you doing, and what will you do . . . about the stupid innocuous oligarchy which controls your life to enrich themselves? I vote in Fla, but I live on an island in the pacific, and extremely thankful I am for that. Why? "American Spring," and the "Tea Party," doing all the wrong things for all the wrong reasons is the start of the so-called 'Spring." So sit back and watch your business places, and your home invaded, burned, and looted. Hey, your recliner is on fire! Walter G.

Victoria Pitchford
Vicky P.4 years ago

lol wow, good going congress, so smrt of you -.-

Katie K.
Katie K.4 years ago

These bunch of jackass's can't make a decision on how to get this country back on track but take all this time to make a deliberation on a subject such as this. I thought schools hired dietitions to make sure our kids are being fed a proper meal.

Sarah n.
m m.4 years ago

What about the G M O's and B G H and M S G in that pizza? Don't forget what we should really be complaining about.

Sarah n.
m m.4 years ago

Calm down...there are more important things to worry about, like GMO's and MSG in that pizza....but no, not 'really':

Patricia Abbott
Patricia Abbott4 years ago

Afterthought. Schools could use sweet potato fries - baked, not fried.