Did you know America has a child obesity problem?
It’s true. Concerned parents all over the country have been lobbying for schools to offer healthier cafeteria choices for their children. It almost worked, too. Almost.
Rather than eliminating unhealthy foods from their students’ diet, congress pulled a complete 180 and decided to count pizza sauce as a vegetable.
Wait a second – aren’t tomatoes fruits?
Doesn’t matter to congress.
The final version of the bill passed, and while it does meet some of the dietary concerns of the parents, it still resists many of the efforts by the Agriculture Department to limit servings of starchy vegetables and sodium restrictions.
How does that work? Well, the USDA wanted to require tomato paste and/or puree to be credited as a vegetable based on the actual volume that is served.
Unfortunately, the amount of sauce on school pizza is slim-to-nil. Rather than nixing the pizza pie from the kitchen, congress did something better – increase the amount of tomato paste on pizza (about a half-cup or more) and it counts as a vegetable!
There! Problem solved.
“It’s a shame that Congress seems more interested in protecting industry than protecting children’s health,” said Margo Wootan, director of Nutrition Policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
“At a time when child nutrition and childhood obesity are national health concerns, Congress should be supporting USDA and school efforts to serve healthier school meals, not undermining them. Together the school lunch riders in the agriculture spending bill will protect industry’s ability to keep pizza and French fries on school lunch trays.”
Hmm. Maybe we should tell congress cookies are unhealthy, so they could decide that chocolate chips can be vegetables too.