Remember those Bagel Bites commercials that tried to convince us that “when pizza’s on a bagel, you can eat pizza anytime?” Kids might have thought they found the elusive “eat pizza 24/7” loophole, but it didn’t quite fly for most parents since most parents are, you know, responsible.
But thanks to the latest move by Congress, America’s kids might now have a legislative mandate to have pizza for breakfast (because they are too impatient to wait until college).
Pushing back against attempts by the Obama administration and the USDA to make school lunches more nutritious, the House of Representatives released an appropriations bill that unravels many of the proposed nutrition guidelines pushed by the Department of Agriculture, such as reducing servings of sodium and starchy foods and increasing the servings of fruits and vegetables.
Due to pressure from lobbyists from Big Potato, Big Salt and Big Frozen Food, not only are the USDA’s suggested changes being ignored, they’re being shredded like a block of mozzarella.
The USDA has wanted to restrict having pizza sauce count as a vegetable serving, so it originally ruled that about a half-cup of sauce would be required to count as a vegetable serving. Fearing getting pushed out of the cafeteria line, lobbyists from the American Frozen Food Institute convinced the Republican members of the House Appropriations Committee to strike out that rule and other school lunch regulations, such as restrictions on servings of starchy vegetables.
So what now? It appears that the light smear of tomato sauce will be all it takes to get pizza into the coveted category of “vegetable serving.” Basically, it’s good and nutritious enough for kids to eat everyday.
The Republican committee members claim that they are worried more about government overreach by telling kids what not to eat in public schools. There have been concerns, also, about the cost of revamping school lunch menus when budgets for schools are tight all around the country.
Sadly it seems that tackling childhood obesity is now on the back burner (or fryer, if you will) while the economy is still in the gutter.
But with major issues like high unemployment and massive income disparities, aren’t you feeling warm inside knowing that brave members of Congress are protecting fat kids from being persecuted by Big Government? Indeed, someone is thinking of the children, for once.