In the first review of school lunches in 15 years, Congress has backed down from insisting that a pizza needs to have half a cup of tomato paste to be called a vegetable (compared to the current two tablespoons):
Corey Henry, a spokesman for the American Frozen Food Institute, said the proposed rules simply did not make sense, especially when it came to pizza.
The industry backs the current rules which say that about a quarter-cup of tomato paste on a slice of pizza can count as a vegetable serving. The Agriculture Department proposal would have required that schools serve more tomato paste per piece of pizza to get a vegetable credit, an idea the industry thought would make pizza unappetizing.
Apparently adding more tomato to a pizza would make it less tasty, and if an impartial judge like the American Frozen Food Institute believes this then who are we to argue?
“It would basically be swimming in tomato sauce,” said Corey Henry, vice president of communications at the American Frozen Food Institute. “No school kid in his right mind would want to eat that.”
We’ll ignore for a second that tomatoes are actually fruit, and that the tomato paste on pizzas has a massive amount of added sugar in it (around one and a half teaspoons of sugar for a pizza’s quarter cup of paste), and just look at the simple truth here: pizza is not a vegetable. It is dough, a thin spread of something vaguely derived from tomatoes, with melted high-fat solidified dairy produce on top. I love pizza, I really do, but I’ve got no illusions about them.
Calling pizza a suitable source of vegetables for growing children is not only a lie, it is harmful to their health, their future wellbeing and relationship with food, and evidence of corruption by politicians bowing to industrial pressures. That’s just one small choice that we know about. At what point is good sense going to kick in and fix this, how long will it take?