The Tyranny of Vegetables

Good news for the pizza-loving children of the world, or in other words, every child in the world -- the tomato paste on your slice of pizza will continue to be counted as the entire quota of vegetables require by law if the Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee have their way.

In an effort many 9-year-olds will cheer, Congress wants pizza and french fries to stay on school lunch lines and is fighting the Obama administration's efforts to take unhealthy foods out of schools.

The final version of a spending bill released late Monday would unravel school lunch standards the Agriculture Department proposed earlier this year. These include limiting the use of potatoes on the lunch line, putting new restrictions on sodium and boosting the use of whole grains. The legislation would block or delay all of those efforts.

The bill also would allow tomato paste on pizzas to be counted as a vegetable, as it is now. USDA had wanted to only count a half-cup of tomato paste or more as a vegetable, and a serving of pizza has less than that.

[...] Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee said the changes would "prevent overly burdensome and costly regulations and ...provide greater flexibility for local school districts to improve the nutritional quality of meals."


Now we're going all free-market on school lunch programs? Deregulate the system and it will police itself?

The Republicans on the Appropriations Committee also say that children "shouldn't be told what to eat," and I'm going to go ahead and call bullshit and say yes, they should be told what to eat. Because they are children, and unless we tell them, they won't know any better.

And if you're serious about reducing the cost of healthcare and our budget deficit, this is ground zero. You are what you eat, and many of America's children are eating complete shit.

Of course this will not effect children whose families are well off and can afford to pack their own lunches every day or enjoy the fruits of private school cafeterias.