Pizza: the forgotten vegetable?

Congress sides with frozen-food industry on vegetable serving-size regulation

The U.S. Congress passed a revised agriculture appropriations bill last week that allows school cafeterias to continue to consider the sauce on pizza a full serving of vegetables.

As school-lunch regulations now stand, an eighth of a cup of tomato sauce is considered to provide the nutritional equivalent of a half cup of fresh vegetables, according to the Washington Post. But in January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture had proposed new guidelines that would have forced schools and frozen-pizza companies to base serving sizes on actual volume of tomato paste served, with an eighth of a cup of sauce equaling only an eighth cup of veggies. Also proposed were increases in availability of fruit, whole grains, low-fat milk and decreasing the availability of starchy vegetables like french fries.

The frozen-food industry subsequently spent about $5.6 million successfully lobbying Congress to nix the proposal, which they did on Nov. 14.