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Congress Declares Pizza a Vegetable. And When Has Congress Ever Been Wrong?

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Nov 18, 2011 7:30PM

A homemade superfood disc. [Chuck Sudo/Chicagoist]

We love a good pizza here at Chicagoist - it's an unofficial requirement to join the staff - but even we know when to cool the love affair. More important, we don't drag the "pizza is a superfood" argument around.

Congress may need to have a talk with us. They're set to vote on legislation that would, among other things, allow a small amount of tomato paste on pizza to be declared a vegetable. It's part of a spending bill that sets its sights on guidelines the Department of Agriculture established earlier this year to make school lunches healthier.

Healthy eating a cause célèbre championed by First Lady Michelle Obama and a study released by Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine Wednesday that showed one in every three teenagers is overweight. The new Agriculture Department standards, based on recommendations by the National Institute of Medicine, also place limits on the amount of starches to be served and sodium.

The new USDA standards would have risen the amount of tomato paste to be placed on a slice of pizza in order for it to be considered a vegetable to one-half cup, which would make that slice one soggy piece of bread. So Congress has been listening to lobbyists and released the aforementioned spending bill that would leave pizza untouched.

Nice to see Congress proactively responding to the problems that are making America a banana republic.