Food Fight – Deciding Who Profits from Taxpayer-Subsidized LunchesThursday, November 17, 2011
If you read this article in full (“Pizza is a vegetable? Congress says yes”), it’ll read like a comedy skit. The USDA, Congress, food companies (including huge players like ConAgra Foods and Schwan Food Company), and industry lobbyists (for frozen foods, potatoes, and salt) have been fighting over what non-food foods will be available for subsidized school lunches for the kiddies whose parents have higher priorities than feeding their own children.
Congress has released the final version of a spending bill that will declare that frozen (processed) pizza is officially a vegetable. You see, federally subsidized lunches have to include standard amounts of vegetables, that is, vegetables as defined by government and myriad special interests that influence government bills. The USDA would like it so that it would take a half cup of tomato sauce to equal a vegetable, but Congress, in order to please the industry lobbies and corporations that fill the congressional coffers, has said, no, no – two tablespoons of tomato sauce counts as a vegetable. Thus frozen pizza becomes a vegetable that conforms to government dietary guidelines. Thank goodness that, in Congress, we have a central source of truth for such matters, such as with the federal dietary guidelines.
After all of the promises, handshakes, and exchange of cash-for-coffers, the American Frozen Food Institute complimented Congress for its “balanced approach to implementing new school meal standards.”