The Unsavory Reason You’re Getting More Cheese on Your Pizza These Days

Pizza Hut is about to load 25 percent more cheese on its pan pizza at 6,000 franchise locations across the U.S. — and the reason why might anger you.

You’ll be getting more cheese — perhaps more than you actually want — because the U.S. government is giving Big Dairy a helping hand.

To add that much cheese to that many pizzas, dairies will need to produce 150 million more pounds of milk. That’s very good for business, and it might even be necessary for the industry’s survival.

If you’re wondering exactly what the government has to do with the cheese on your pizza, look no further than an entity called Dairy Management, Inc. This non-profit was created by the U.S. government in 1995 to help increase dairy consumption by “offering the products consumers want, where and when they want them.”

According to The New York Times:

Dairy Management, whose annual budget approaches $140 million, is largely financed by a government-mandated fee on the dairy industry. But it also receives several million dollars a year from the Agriculture Department, which appoints some of its board members, approves its marketing campaigns and major contracts and periodically reports to Congress on its work.

So yes, the USDA is waist-deep in decisions like this one. If the dairy industry needs to funnel more cheese down our throats to stay afloat, the USDA is entirely complicit.

More and More Cheese

But this isn’t the first time the federal government has stepped in to support Big Dairy.

  • In 2006, the USDA’s National Dairy Promotion and Research Program celebrated the fact that it was able to help the U.S. consume an additional 30 million pounds of cheese, via new, significantly cheesier options it helped foster at Burger King, Wendy’s and Pizza Hut.
  • In 2010, the Dairy Management Inc. worked closely with Domino’s Pizza to develop new pizza choices containing a whopping 40 percent more cheese.
  • In August 2016, the USDA bought up 11 million pounds of unwanted cheese from dairy makers at a cost of $20 million. Then in October 2016, it bought $20 million more of cheddar cheese — all because dairy producers just couldn’t sell it.

All this government help seems a bit hypocritical, doesn’t it? One the one hand, the U.S. government tells us it’s not healthy to consume cheese. Cheese is, in fact, a huge reason the American diet is rife with unsaturated fat. Then, on the other hand, the government goes to extraordinary lengths to get more cheese into our diets. Thanks, USDA.

cheeseburger on grill

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Dairy products cause heart disease, cancer, hip fractures and lactose intolerance, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. We all know this, and yet you work against your people by encouraging more and more cheese on the unhealthy foods you know we already eat too much of.

Now You Know What Those Ads Really Mean

The next time you see a TV promo for fast food pizza, tacos or cheeseburgers that tells you some new item has even more glorious cheese, you’ll know why. The restaurant didn’t come up with that idea; Big Dairy and the government did.

Somewhere in the background is the dairy industry and the USDA, pulling the strings to get more “cheesy goodness” into those fast food items. Sure, it tastes good to most people, but enough already. We’d all like to stay healthy for as long as possible.

And on that front, plant-based alternatives are better in every way. Health-conscious consumers now turn from dairy to plant-based milk in huge numbers. How about urging Pizza Hut to offer vegan cheese at all its locations?  Sign this Care2 petition if you’re interested in letting Pizza Hut know that you’d prefer a plant-based option — not more and more dairy-based cheese.

The trend away from animal milk has Big Dairy truly worried — as the industry should be. The death of dairy is coming. And it would come faster if the government would just let it die already.

How about assisting that industry transition to something more sustainable? That would be a truly helpful and forward-thinking by the USDA.

106 comments

One Heart i
One Heart inc18 days ago

Thanks!

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Carl R
Carl R18 days ago

Thanks!

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Isabel G
Isabel G18 days ago

thanks!

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DAVID f
DAVID f18 days ago

NOTED

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Ruth S
Ruth S21 days ago

Thanks.

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Anne F
Anne F23 days ago

silly policy and why do we keep dairy cows in the dry part of California anyway?

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Shirley Plowman
Shirley Plowman25 days ago

I agree with Jeff.

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DAVID fleming
DAVID f25 days ago

TY

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Anette S
Anette S29 days ago

Consumers must simply use their political power to change things - A good start is to use the word ' NO ' more often...

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Anette S
Anette S29 days ago

Okay, I understand that the US government is supporting the dairy industry... and so Pizza Hut is packing more cheese on the pizzas? Are the Pizza Hut stores acting on direct orders from above? Are employees and branch managers threatened with legal penalties?
Regardless of whether the government wants to get more cheese into the daily food intake of the individual Americans, in the end every consumer decides with his purse what he consumes.
And if I disagree with the product that the Pizza Hut staff brings to my table, I can complain and insist on rectification. When push comes to shove, I just leave the Pizza Hut branch without consuming anything...

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