Thanks to Congress, pizza is still considered a vegetable—at least where school lunches are concerned.
Proposed new school lunch standards from the USDA would have limited potatoes in school lunches (think French fries) and stopped counting less than a half-cup of tomato sauce as a vegetable (think pizza), but food companies complained via $5.6 million worth of lobbying. A spending bill released yesterday rejects those suggestions, ensuring pizza and French fries will continue to be served.
Federally-subsidized school meals must contain a certain amount of vegetables, and now pizza, with its two tablespoons of tomato sauce, can continue to be one of those vegetables. The USDA’s proposed changes also included limiting sodium and increasing whole grains, meaning that efforts to make lower-sodium, whole grain pizzas will also be delayed. “While it’s unfortunate that some members of Congress continue to put special interests ahead of the health of America’s children, USDA remains committed to practical, science-based standards for school meals,” says a USDA spokesperson.