Pizza is a vegetable, really?

[promoted by Liz]

The house and Senate approved legislation that redefines pizza as a vegetable, and the President signed it.  You can see our Congressman’s vote on HR2112 here.  As you ponder this, please remember a few things.

  1. We’re talking about that cardboard crust pizza that is served in school lunches
  2. The rationale for the classification is that a slice of pizza contains three ounces of tomato paste
  3. A tomato is a fruit, not a vegetable
  4. Frank Wolf is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, the committee responsible for the original bill content

If you are as astounded as me, you should see what Kermit had to say on SNL, “what next are twizzlers and a a grape soda a ‘fruit salad'”?  if you have time, please send a note to Congressman Wolf thanking him for favoring agribusiness over the health and well being of school children.

8 thoughts on “Pizza is a vegetable, really?

  1. Epluribusunum

    And the kids who desperately need the gaps filled in their access to FOOD will eat whatever is put in front of them, and be thankful for it.

    Truth, and a disgraceful topic in its own right.

  2. Barbara Munsey

    Actually David, the technically correct description (contrary to your affirmation of Jonathan’s original declaration) is that pizza still contains a SERVING of a vegetable, if it contains one quarter cup or more of tomato sauce/paste/puree per slice, as I yes, have been saying from the get-go.

    Appetizing to children is a whole other animal, isn’t it? We can all get roiled up in what they SHOULD like, and what’s BEST for them, and whether it’s locally grown or organic or not, and the fact remains that plenty of what is offered with the very best of sterling intentions will end up in the garbage anyway.

    The old horse/water thing, you know?

    There is no reason pizza needs to be unhealthy, either. But we are dealing with a scaling issue as well: school districts buying bulk food that meets standards to feed X kids X things on a politically-approved punchlist.

    And the kids who desperately need the gaps filled in their access to FOOD will eat whatever is put in front of them, and be thankful for it.

    So maybe we should be doing MORE basics like potatoes (not necessarily fried, but good sources of minerals and very filling, not to mention pretty economical–there’s a reason people of modest means have eaten them for centuries), and less quibbling over the trend du jour, and much less smartass over clever politicizing like “so and so said pizza is a vegetable!”

  3. Epluribusunum

    Wait, really? We’re actually talking about whether it would make the situation better or worse to make an already unappetizing and relatively non-nutritious food product even more unappetizing? Can’t we do better than that?

    Barbara is technically correct – the more accurate phrase would be “Pizza is still a vegetable!” The key word is “continuing.’

  4. Barbara Munsey

    IF more than a quarter cup was used, which the manufacturers thought was a bad idea, it could be counted as a SERVING under the rules governing fruit and vegetable pastes and purees.

    And that still isn’t the same as saying “Pizza is a vegetable!”

  5. Liz Miller

    No Barbara, the NEW rules would have “cut the amount of potatoes served and would have changed the way schools received credit for serving vegetables by continuing to count tomato paste on a slice of pizza only if more than a quarter-cup of it was used. The rules would have also halved the amount of sodium in school meals over the next 10 years.

    But late Monday, lawmakers drafting a House and Senate compromise for the agriculture spending bill blocked the department from using money to carry out any of the proposed rules.”

    Congress BLOCKED the new rules and so pizza continues to be considered a vegetable.

  6. Barbara Munsey

    I read the link, and it appears the tomato paste or puree used on a serving slice of pizza would count as a vegetable serving if it was one quarter cup or more per slice, which makers of the products said would add cost, while potentially making the product unappetizing, resulting in more food waste if kids threw it away. I have to say, a quarter cup per slice would almost make it pizza stew, and I LIKE saucy pizza!

    Not quite the same as our Congressman declaring “Pizza is a vegetable!”, but points for trying, Jonathan.

    I do agree that a lot of the micromanagement of school lunches to try to make things “healthy” (the composition of which changes by the year, it seems–remember when the food pyramid–now gone, apparently–was revamped in the interest of “health” to mandate 6-12 servings a day of bread, pasta, potatoes?) is more politics than progress, sometimes.

    Baked sweet potato fries, yay! Until you find them in steaming piles in the garbage.

  7. Liz Miller

    It is astounding, isn’t it?

    Pizza is not a vegetable. Vegetables contain no dairy.

    Although a tomato IS a vegetable in the same way that zucchini are vegetables. They are both biologically classified as fruits since we eat the flesh that contains the seeds for the plant.

    Peas and lima beans are classified as legumes because we only eat the seeds. Brussels sprouts, carrots, broccoli, and potatoes are classified as vegetables because we eat the leaves, stems, and roots of those plants.

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