Congressional pizza battles and political corruption

Congress may not have declared outright that pizza is a vegetable, but the whole debate over pizza sauce in public schools was still quite foolish.

It was about as foolish as saying pizza qualifies as a veggie in any way, shape or form.


How much pizza sauce does it take to equal a serving of vegetables? Essentially that was the question being asked.


According to Reuters, Congress was debating changes to a spending bill that would have eliminated pizza’s status as a vegetable and limited how often French fries could be served in federally subsidized school lunches.

It all stemmed from a 2010 child nutrition law that wanted to influence schools to improve the nutrition in lunches served to almost 32 million US school children.


The obesity warriors in the U.S. were disappointed when the changes were shot down, pizza and French fries will continue to be served at the current rate. These items are currently served at a rate of everyday, which is probably too often.

The Washington Post made sure to let everyone know that the government did not declare that pizza is a vegetable. Their defenses of the government’s attempts to control school children’s lunches do not make what went down seem any less foolish.


It also makes you wonder what the Post’s motivations as a news organization are when they defend government buffoonery so strongly.


No, the government does not believe that pizza is the same thing as a scoop of broccoli or carrots. However, a stupid loophole has allowed the tomato sauce on pizza to count as a serving of vegetables for years.


Currently, two tablespoons of tomato paste on a piece of pizza is enough for it to pass through the legal loophole as a serving of vegetables. The child obesity crusaders wanted the amount of tomato sauce to be raised to a half-cup of tomato paste to qualify pizza as a vegetable serving.


Of course this was shot down, and the lesser amount of tomato sauce will still qualify the sauce on pizza as a vegetable.


The real stupidity of this situation is how lobbyists like the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) did the work to get the changes shot down. The Star Tribune in Minnesota has it on record that one of AFFI’s members – Schwan Food Co – has donated money to the campaigns of many members of the Minnesota congressional delegation.


How much do you want to bet that they donated money in several other states too?


This whole pizza situation has benefitted the makers of frozen pizza who have nice fat deals with the government’s public school system. Because the changes were shot down, ConAgra Foods Inc. and Schwan Food Co will not have to make any changes to their products. This means that they can watch the money continue to roll in while kids continue to eat substandard frozen pizza every day.


The government and the First Lady make all of these claims that obesity is an epidemic and that something needs to be done. They all act like they care about the health of children, yet they allow money to win out once things get serious.


Luckily most parents can still send their kids to school with a lunch from home that is actually crafted with nutrition in mind. Enjoy that freedom while you can because one school in Chicago has banned lunches from home unless there is a doctor’s note.


Who really cares about the nutrition kids are receiving in public schools? Not your government and their friends in the frozen pizza industry. They’ve shown that their only concern is continuing to use the health of kids in public school as a political tool. They could have switched from pizza to something more healthy, yet they choose to carry on a petty battle over tomato sauce.