NEW YORK (CBS 2) — The fight over school lunch nutrition has gotten a little strange. Congress is now considering an amendment to an appropriations bill that would give vegetable status to pizza. But no matter how you slice it, some disagree.
You could call it the “defense of pizza act” in congress — a measure designating the sauce on a slice as a veggie. Industry sources admit it is a move to keep pizza in the school lunch mix.
Nutritionists, however, are horrified.
“It really doesn’t make any sense,” Nutritionist Elizabeth DeRobertis told CBS 2’s Lou Youg. “You can’t exchange pizza for broccoli.”
The debate surrounds some members of Congress going after the White House’s school lunch nutrition guidelines.
Lobbyists from the American Frozen Food Institute argue that the amount of sauce currently required by federal regulations for it to qualify as a vegetable is too much and makes for a soggy slice. So they’ve complained to Congress and some members are trying to comply.
“I think it’s a bad decision. I think it’s letting our kids down,” Nutritionist Elyssa Hulbert said. “I think we owe to it to our kids to be thinking more about how to increase the nutritional density of what we offer them.”
The frozen food industry says 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce should be considered a vegetable serving, which is about what you get on a slice. So it’s a veggie they say. New York pizza experts don’t see it.
“It’s bread with sauce and cheese,” said Ricky Colligan, of Sophia’s Pizza in Harrison.
“Its just bread — bread, sauce,” said Blanca Garcia.
But pizza is certainly delicious, even if a little light on nutrients. One 6th grader told Young what he thinks will happen if pizza is declared a veggie.
“We eat the pizza instead of vegetables,” Joshua Garcia said.
Many say it’ll be more of what already goes on in too many school lunchrooms.
The tomato sauce pizza vote could come later this week.
Lobbyists for the potato industry are already pressuring members of Congress about a provision that would limit starchy vegetables — like french fries — in school lunches as well.
Is pizza a vegetable? Share your thoughts in the comments section below…