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Congress pushes to classify pizza as a 'vegetable'

Sunday, November 20, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: pizza, vegetable, health news

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(NaturalNews) In an absurd attempt to fight back at federal regulations that greatly limit the amount of junk food that can be served as part of government-funded school lunch programs, Congress has proposed a new spending bill that classifies pizza as a "vegetable." Reports indicate that the bill would allow for just two tablespoons of tomato paste to be considered a serving of vegetables.

Recommendations made by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine back in 2009 for reforming subsidized school lunch programs include reducing the use of starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn to just two days a week, cutting sodium use, and promoting the use of whole grains. But the new Congressional bill, which is alleged to be a product of the frozen food industry lobby, seeks to undo these changes.

Proponents of the bill in Congress say it will "prevent overly burdensome and costly regulations and provide greater flexibility for local school districts to improve the nutritional quality of meals." But opponents insist that the legislation is a thinly-veiled attempt at satisfying the demands of special interest groups rather than promoting better nutrition for public school children.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a group that supports the Obama Administration's initial lunchroom reform measures, has expressed vehement opposition to the Congressional bill. CSPI's Nutrition Policy Director Margo G. Wootan recently wrote that the legislation, if passed, "may go down in nutritional history as a bigger blunder than when the Reagan Administration tried (but failed) to credit ketchup as a vegetable in the school lunch program."

First off, the kind of pizza served in most school lunchrooms can hardly be considered a health food in any way, shape, or form. From the refined, brominated white flour-based dough to the recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) laden cheese, this processed food product is a detriment to the health of school children. Even the sauce used on most processed pizzas contains chemical additives and preservatives, as well as potential pesticide residues from conventional tomatoes.

While the original Obama Administration proposal represents an attempt at improving lunchroom food quality, it is inadequate at promoting real nutrition. Once the genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), refined sugars, processed flours, unhealthy GM oils, chemical salt additives, and preservatives are removed from the menu, then we can truly begin a discussion on better health through nutrition.

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