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According to Congress, pizza is a vegetable

goodhealthgourmet Nov 17, 2011 07:34 PM

what's next? beer as a good source of whole grains?


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  1. s
    small h RE: goodhealthgourmet Nov 17, 2011 07:40 PM

    Well, it's...more like a vegetable than ketchup is?

    1. m
      mpalmer6c RE: goodhealthgourmet Nov 17, 2011 10:58 PM

      Lest anyone wonder why our Keystone Kongress has a 13 percent
      approval rating. BTW, pizza is now a vegetable.

      1. TrishUntrapped RE: goodhealthgourmet Nov 18, 2011 06:36 AM

        Yum! I'm planting pepperoni pizza seeds, can't wait for spring harvest...

        2 Replies
        1. re: TrishUntrapped
          flourgirl RE: TrishUntrapped Nov 18, 2011 09:26 AM

          Is that a new hybird - or an heirloom?

          1. re: flourgirl
            TrishUntrapped RE: flourgirl Nov 18, 2011 10:14 AM

            ...definitely not an heirloom.... ;-)

        2. C. Hamster RE: goodhealthgourmet Nov 18, 2011 08:27 AM

          It's not pizza as a vegetable, it's the amount of tomato paste on it (or anything else) that is required to be considered a vegetable.

          3 Replies
          1. re: C. Hamster
            goodhealthgourmet RE: C. Hamster Nov 18, 2011 08:42 AM

            well obviously. no one's saying they consulted with expert botanists and horticulturists and have now officially classified it as a vegetable for scientific purposes. but the end result of the legislation is that when a schoolchild eats pizza for lunch, they've now supposedly eaten a serving of vegetables...even though they may have only consumed a teaspoon or two of tomato paste (which, BTW, is botanically a fruit anyway).

            it's like saying that the ice cream you ate for dessert counts as a serving of protein.

            1. re: C. Hamster
              paulj RE: C. Hamster Nov 18, 2011 08:59 AM

              Yes, quoting from the article:
              "Another provision bars the USDA from changing the way it credits tomato paste, used in pizza. The change would have required pizza to have at least a half-cup of tomato paste to qualify as a vegetable serving. Current rules, which likely will remain in place, require just two tablespoons of tomato paste."

              This thread subject line is a bit misleading. The 'now' implies that Congress made a change in how pizza is classed, or that some how kids will be served more pizza. What they have done is block a change. The Reuters headline is more accurate.

              1. re: paulj
                goodhealthgourmet RE: paulj Nov 18, 2011 09:53 AM

                This thread subject line is a bit misleading.
                you're right, my bad. i've asked the Mods to edit it for me.

            2. w
              wincountrygirl RE: goodhealthgourmet Nov 18, 2011 08:46 AM

              Except that tomato is a fruit.........

              1 Reply
              1. re: wincountrygirl
                goodhealthgourmet RE: wincountrygirl Nov 18, 2011 08:50 AM

                see my parenthetical comment above :) but that's an entirely separate discussion, and a point i've raised more than once. makes me nuts every time i see claims like the one from Ragu that states "2 servings of veggies in every half cup."

              2. b
                Breezychow RE: goodhealthgourmet Nov 18, 2011 08:57 AM

                It's the exact same nonsense that now allows the companies that put out pasta sauce & canned pasta to claim that their products provide a full serving of "vegetables" per serving.

                1. C. Hamster RE: goodhealthgourmet Nov 18, 2011 08:57 AM

                  Tomato paste is already considered a vegetable.

                  The USDA wanted to up the amount of it that would qualify.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: C. Hamster
                    TrishUntrapped RE: C. Hamster Nov 18, 2011 09:01 AM

                    No matter how you slice it, calling a slice of pizza a vegetable is just one more way to stick it to the kids.

                    1. re: TrishUntrapped
                      flourgirl RE: TrishUntrapped Nov 18, 2011 09:30 AM

                      I remember how surprised I was to learn that a slushy was considered a serving of fruit at my son's elementary school. And than the school nurse had the balls to lecture the homeroom moms every year on the school's "nutritional policy" with regards to school parties, etc. The stupidity and hypocricy was really mind-blowing....

                      This is just one reason why my son takes his lunch from home.

                      1. re: flourgirl
                        paulj RE: flourgirl Nov 18, 2011 09:42 AM

                        Are you blaming the nurse? That hypocrisy probably has more to do with overlapping regulations, rather any one person's hypocrisy or stupidity. What's fruit or vegetable in the lunch room has a lot to do with USDA regulations, such as those discussed in the Congressional bill. And I believe those regulations are linked to lunch subsidies.

                        A school's nutritional policy may come from the district, or even school administration. The nurse could have been a part time employee tasked with giving this speech.

                        1. re: paulj
                          flourgirl RE: paulj Nov 21, 2011 03:28 PM

                          Yes, I am well aware of where the different regulations come from, thanks.

                          Like it or not, the nurse, who is a full time employee at that school, is part of the system that perpetuates this nonsense. And as a matter of fact, school nurses can have a great deal of power, as became quite evident to me in the years my son was in elementary school. And there are different ways of imparting information. She had a particularly supercilious way of doing so that was really really irritating - especially when she had to know about the nonsense going on in the cafeteria. And the worst part was that she also knew that, after several years of this nutritional policy being implemented, it was enforced very unevenly, depending on the teacher, etc.. Bottom line, she enjoyed lecturing the homeroom moms every year & I have very little patience for stupidity and hypocricy - and again, like it or not, it's stupid to be lecturing homeroom moms about sugar at the same time that the cafeteria is counting sugar laden slushies as a serving of fruit, no matter WHO promulgated the regulations. At some point, I expect people in the system to recognize the stupidity and do something about addressing it instead of just mindlessly going along with the nonsense and expecting everyone else to pretend that there's nothing crazy about the "rules." But that's the problem with bureuacracy, isn't it. It's all about passing the buck & refusing to take responsibility for anything except enforcing ridiculous regulations.

                        2. re: flourgirl
                          paulj RE: flourgirl Nov 21, 2011 04:22 PM


                          Foods of minimal nutritional value:
                          - soda water
                          - water ices
                          BUT " water ices which contain fruit or fruit juices are not included in this definition.'
                          - chewing gum
                          - certain candy

                          i suspect that slushy has enough fruit juice to qualify as nutritional

                    2. rockandroller1 RE: goodhealthgourmet Nov 18, 2011 10:41 AM

                      The best part of this was that in the article about this posted on the Huffington Post, some guy in the comments said something like, geez, stop whining, becuase guess what, pizza's biggest ingredient is WHEAT, a vegetable!

                      I love the internets.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: rockandroller1
                        jmckee RE: rockandroller1 Nov 22, 2011 09:36 AM

                        Um, actually, Wheat is a grain.

                        1. re: jmckee
                          rockandroller1 RE: jmckee Nov 22, 2011 10:04 AM

                          I know, that's why it was hilarious.

                      2. w
                        wyogal RE: goodhealthgourmet Nov 18, 2011 10:49 AM

                        What gets me is all the folks whining about what is being served.... I've been there, actually had some great turkey gravy and potatoes yesterday with some school kids. They have these mini-salad bars that have dishes of several fruits and vegetables. The kids serve themselves, can take as much as they want. If you want kids to eat well while they are away from you, then teach them (at home) how to do that. The schools also have snacks during the day of fresh fruits and vegetables, several types. When I've seen pizza served, it's along with other foods, not JUST pizza.
                        and remember, the lunches need to cost the consumer only $2.25. $3.50 for the adults.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: wyogal
                          mpjmph RE: wyogal Nov 20, 2011 11:31 AM

                          Not all schools have salad bars and homemade food. It varies a lot from state to state, and then between school systems and even individual schools.

                          1. re: mpjmph
                            wyogal RE: mpjmph Nov 20, 2011 11:45 AM

                            It's not "home made", just well made in a school cafeteria, then shipped to elementary schools in warmers.
                            I still think that folks seem to want a $10 meal for $2.50. Teach your children about nutrition,and get involved in your local schools to get better food and choices. Don't wait for the federal government to do a family's or community's job.

                          2. re: wyogal
                            flourgirl RE: wyogal Nov 21, 2011 03:32 PM

                            Please don't assume that every school is like that. Because, trust me, they're not. And I am VERY involved in my son's school. But no one cares what I have to say about where they purchase their food from. If you don't think that there is a lot of corruption involved in purchasing decisions in most schools, you are very naive.

                            1. re: flourgirl
                              RAGHOUND RE: flourgirl Nov 21, 2011 06:43 PM

                              You're absolutely correct about not assuming that every school is alike. If anyone believes that is true, they also believe in the tooth fairy and that what goes in Congress is "the will of the people"! I live in the Philadelphia area. Go to a city school in the north or west section of the city and see what their lunches look like - these are areas of high unemployment, low education and a lot of crime vs. areas in the southern part of the city that are, generally, white and Asian, where the opposite is the norm. Then go to the western suburbs, which are more like the north and west sections of the city vs. the northern suburbs which are more affluent, higher education, more costly homes, higher school taxes, etc. The food in the school cafeterias is vastly different. I'd venture to say that this is what you'll find across the entire country. There is no way you can lump all of the school districts in America into a group and say they're all alike. It's impossible to believe that what happens in a state like Montana, with a small population is akin to what's happening in north Philadelphia.

                              For a real eye-opener, check this thread - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/779029

                              1. re: RAGHOUND
                                wyogal RE: RAGHOUND Nov 22, 2011 06:00 AM

                                right, Montana. wow.

                                1. re: RAGHOUND
                                  paulj RE: RAGHOUND Nov 22, 2011 09:44 AM

                                  There was a thread a while back about a Chicago school that banned food from home. Apparently the field trip lunches that the kids brought were heavy on junk food. But many of the Chow posters saw such a policy as infringing on the rights of the parents to provide really nutritious food. Of course such a complaint would be more valid in a Whole Foods or Wegmans neighborhood, the the Chicago West Side.


                                  1. re: RAGHOUND
                                    paulj RE: RAGHOUND Nov 22, 2011 10:24 AM

                                    In that French school thread, DiningDiva gives a good description of how the American school lunch program works

                              2. i
                                INDIANRIVERFL RE: goodhealthgourmet Nov 18, 2011 10:53 AM

                                I think it was back in the 70's when our government got involved in what kids need to eat at school. Then the uproar was the notion that a ketchup packet with french fries equaled a vegetable serving.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                                  goodhealthgourmet RE: INDIANRIVERFL Nov 18, 2011 11:21 AM

                                  in the 80's the Reagan Administration tried to pass legislation that would require the USDA to reclassify ketchup & relish as vegetables instead of condiments. as always, it was about money - a cost-cutting measure to save money on school lunch programs.

                                  the policy wasn't implemented - too much backlash & public outrage.

                                  1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                                    paulj RE: INDIANRIVERFL Nov 18, 2011 11:27 AM

                                    The ketchup issue arose in the early Reagan years, as part of cost cutting measures. The change in classification (from condiment to vegetable) did not actually go through.


                                    1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                                      mpjmph RE: INDIANRIVERFL Nov 20, 2011 11:39 AM

                                      The federal gov't got involved in school lunches in the 1940's, and concerns about nutrition vs. use of surplus foods have been around since then beginning.

                                    2. chowser RE: goodhealthgourmet Nov 18, 2011 12:07 PM

                                      From the pizza/french fry industry"
                                      "Our concern is that the standards would force companies in many respects to change their products in a way that would make them unpalatable to students," Henry said.

                                      I find the same problem w/ math and English. It's unpalatable to kids so let's just have recess all day, with pizza and french fries for lunch. .;-p

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: chowser
                                        paulj RE: chowser Nov 18, 2011 12:42 PM

                                        How much tomato sauce can you put on a slice of pizza and still make it palatable? It's been a long time size I had school pizza, but isn't there a problem with the cheese layer sliding off the sauce layer? Would they have to switch to deep dish pizza (with cheese on the bottom) to use enough sauce (as required by the blocked USDA regulations)?

                                        1. re: paulj
                                          chowser RE: paulj Nov 22, 2011 04:52 AM

                                          That's, of course, assuming tomato sauce is the only vegetable that can be on a pizza. Or maybe they could try a thin whole wheat crust and possibly cut the cheese and add more vegetables, sprinkling of lean protein. That would be palatable, maybe not to all kids, hence my comment about making math and English more along the lines of what kids would like.

                                          1. re: chowser
                                            paulj RE: chowser Nov 22, 2011 09:36 AM

                                            One of the blocked USDA regulations had to do with whole grains. HR2112 blocks that till they come up with a better definition of 'whole grain'.

                                            Under the proposed USDA changes they could still serve pizza; it just couldn't be counted as a vegetable serving. So they would have to add a vegetable side, or add vegetables to the pizza. How would a onion, bell pepper, and eggplant pizza work?

                                      2. Withnail42 RE: goodhealthgourmet Nov 18, 2011 05:05 PM

                                        Serious issue going on in this country but this is the one thing they can agree on?

                                        This shows you what a good lobbyist can do. Who knew the pizza industry had such clout?

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Withnail42
                                          paulj RE: Withnail42 Nov 18, 2011 06:25 PM

                                          It should be noted that this is part of a major spending bill for the Dept of Agriculture etc. HR 2112. It is unclear whether this was added in committee or as part of some House floor amendment vote. if added in committee only a fraction of Congress voted on this specific item. The rest would have voted considering all the provisions of the bill.

                                          quotes the provision in HR2112

                                          "One of these items includes the prevention of heavy-handed school lunch regulations that would have cost financially strapped local school districts an estimated $7 billion over the next five years in compliance costs."
                                          Rep Hal Rogers, chair of the House Appropriations Committee

                                          Committee minority report that mentions the 'pizza rule'

                                          1. re: Withnail42
                                            C. Hamster RE: Withnail42 Nov 19, 2011 05:37 AM

                                            The pizza folks were helped by the potato and salt lobbyists and the good folks from Krapt Foods

                                            1. re: C. Hamster
                                              RAGHOUND RE: C. Hamster Nov 19, 2011 07:02 PM

                                              And don't leave out Coca-Cola who made sure that sodas were continued as part of school lunches so that we could continue to have the most obese children in the world! One more reason to ban all people who ever hold political office from becoming lobbyists.

                                              1. re: RAGHOUND
                                                paulj RE: RAGHOUND Nov 19, 2011 07:49 PM

                                                Specifically what legislation (and when) do you have in mind?

                                                "Federal law prohibits the sale of soda as a Food of Minimal Nutritional Value (FMNV) in the cafeteria during the school lunch period."

                                                Are you thinking of attempts by school districts or cities to ban sale of soda on campus, or from campus vending machines?

                                          2. paulj RE: goodhealthgourmet Nov 19, 2011 09:37 AM


                                            seems to explain the situation better than most. According to current USDA rules, schools get 'credits' for each serving of 'vegetables or fruits'. For most fruit purees like applesauce, 1/2c counts as a serving. Tomato sauce, as used on pizza, qualifies at less than 1/8c. The new rules proposed treating tomato like other fruits - hence the 1/2c per pizza serving.

                                            Here's the provision in HR 2112 that blocks this

                                            "SEC. 743. None of the funds made available by this Act may
                                            be used to implement an interim final or final rule regarding
                                            nutrition programs ... that—
                                            (1) requires crediting of tomato paste and puree based
                                            on volume;
                                            (2) implements a sodium reduction target beyond Target
                                            I,...; and
                                            (3) establishes any whole grain requirement without
                                            defining ‘‘whole grain.’’"

                                            1. l
                                              ladybugthepug RE: goodhealthgourmet Nov 19, 2011 09:40 AM

                                              I've got a new favorite vegetable.

                                              1. MplsM ary RE: goodhealthgourmet Nov 20, 2011 08:31 AM

                                                SNL. Really?!? With Seth and Kermit

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: MplsM ary
                                                  enbell RE: MplsM ary Nov 21, 2011 08:48 PM

                                                  I was just about to post a link myself - I loved that bit :)!

                                                2. woodleyparkhound RE: goodhealthgourmet Nov 21, 2011 09:18 AM

                                                  If pizza is a vegetable, does that make pepper spray a condiment? :-)

                                                  1. Veggo RE: goodhealthgourmet Nov 21, 2011 03:40 PM

                                                    Let's hear both sides of the story. According to pizza, Congress is a vegetable.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Veggo
                                                      small h RE: Veggo Nov 21, 2011 03:46 PM

                                                      I think pizza has it right.

                                                      1. re: Veggo
                                                        RAGHOUND RE: Veggo Nov 21, 2011 06:44 PM

                                                        I second pizza's correctness!

                                                      2. paulj RE: goodhealthgourmet Nov 22, 2011 04:24 PM

                                                        FN is weighing in on the school lunch issue, with a Chopped episode featuring 4 school cafeteria chefs and a White House judge

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