Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Is Pizza a Vegetable?

There's a lesson here on the elasticity of words. During an earlier federal administration, government bureaucrats declared that for purposes of school lunches, catsup was a vegetable. The cynical laugher that followed destroyed that initiative. But, did you know that the tomato sauce on pizza counts as a vegetable?

In response to congressional action last fall that allows a small amount of tomato paste to count as a serving of vegetables in school meals—and in turn making a slice of pizza the equivalent of a half-cup of broccoli on lunch trays—U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat, introduced a bill Monday that would put an end to the practice.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture had wanted to end a provision in school meal rules that allowed 1/8 cup of tomato paste on a slice of pizza to count as 1/8 cup, rather than 1/2 cup of vegetables. The switch would have matched the rules for tomato paste with those for all other fruit and vegetable pastes and purees.

Congress, however, blocked that switch. Here’s the article from Education Week. Pizza is popular at my law school cafeteria, a high-quality operation. The chefs must use more than one-eighth of a cup of sauce, because the pizza is sometimes pretty sloppy.


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