Okay, so Congress didn't actually come out and say that pizza was a vegetable, but they might as well have. Aside from the fact that technically, the tomato is considered a fruit, tomato sauce on a pizza does not constitute a serving of vegetables. Although a registered Republican, there are certain issues that I don't agree with, and our children's nutritional needs are one of them. Childhood obesity in the U.S. is an ever-growing problem and something needs to be done. Yes, some of that burden lies with the parents- they need to stop feeding their kids fast food and force them off the sofa and into the backyard to exercise. But since kids spend their days in school, and they are fed there, it is incumbent upon us to ensure they are fed properly. Congress, in efforts to save money is doing it at the expense of our kids.
The controversy boils down to this:
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.
SDA 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.
Nutritionists say the whole effort is reminiscent of the Reagan administration's much-ridiculed attempt 30 years ago to classify ketchup as a vegetable to cut costs. This time around, food companies that produce frozen pizzas for schools, the salt industry and potato growers requested the changes and lobbied Congress.
School meals that are subsidized by the federal government must include a certain amount of vegetables, and USDA's proposal could have pushed pizza-makers and potato growers out of the school lunch business.
The irony is that an unhealthy, overweight child is going to wind up costing the taxpayer a ton more money, down the line, when the kid gets sick from all that pizza and french fries for lunch. Yes, Republicans have a point in not wanting government to dictate what a child eats, but if the school and/or parents are going to skimp, then something needs to be done. Whether its more education or regulation. Children are far more important than being pawns in political games.
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