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Pizza is NOT a vegetable

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 23rd, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The SLICE Act, School Lunch Improvements for Children's Education, has been introduced that two tablespoons of tomato paste on pizza could be classified as a full vegetable serving in the federal school lunch program. This means that Congress could actually consider pizza as a vegetable.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Pizza certainly has its place in school meals, but equating it with broccoli, carrots and celery seriously undermines this nation's efforts to support children's health and their ability to learn because of better school nutrition," Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), the bill's chief sponsor, said. "Its nutritional content should be accurately reflected in school meal standards."

Congress' action has drawn quite a bit of ridicule. Jon Stewart, "Daily Show" host, joked: "So the one thing that you've all been able to sit down and agree upon is that pizza is a vegetable."   

Corey Henry, spokesman for the American Frozen Food Institute, said, "Congress did not declare pizza a vegetable, and no one has ever, or will ever, ask that pizza be considered a vegetable."

Polis' bill would allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture to count 1/8 of a cup of tomato paste as 1/8 of a cup of vegetables instead of as half a cup of vegetables.

"Unfairly downgrading the nutritional classification of tomato paste would have severely hindered the ability of school nutritionists to serve a wide range of healthy, affordable meals that schoolchildren enjoy eating," Henry said in an interview.

Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, welcomed Polis' bill.

"It sends a good message about the importance of healthy school foods, and that these decisions should be based on what's best for kids, not what's best for business,'' said Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest

The controversial issue is expected to reappear when the House takes up the yearly spending bill for the Department of Agriculture. However, Polis' bill may not go far.

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