PIZZA CAN BE classed as a vegetable – at least according to a decision made by the US Congress. Who knew?
American lawmakers have ruled that the amount of tomato paste in pizza sauce means that pizzas can be counted as a vegetable.
The bizarre move, which was decided in a vote on the annual spending bill for the Department of Agriculture, happened for purely political reasons.
The crucial bill had oversight over subsidised school meals, and the department was seeking to restrict pizza, chips and starchy vegetables from the menu for school children in a bid to combat child obesity.
MSNBC reports that politicians had been lobbied heavily by the frozen food industry who didn’t want to see a major revenue stream cut off given how often pizza is found on the menus of school canteens in the US.
School meals subsidised by the government are mandated to include a certain amount of vegetables and the Department of Agriculture’s plan would have pushed pizza-makers at least partly out of the school lunch business.
The salt industry, potato growers, and some conservative politicians who said that the federal government shouldn’t be involved in telling children what to eat, also lobbied against the change.
After some debate, Congress voted that anything containing two tablespoons of tomato sauce can be labelled a vegetable, putting pizza into the vegetable category.
The Obama administration is fighting to make school lunches healthier in the face of a growing obesity problem across the country.