WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS Washington) — Next time your mom tells you to eat your vegetables, tell her you want a pizza.

Revisions to a spending bill Tuesday would classify pizza as a vegetable and pits school lunch reformers against conservatives who say government should keep its fork to itself.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest blasted Congress in a release saying it’s more interested in protecting prepackaged and frozen food industries than protecting children’s health.

“Pizza should be served with a vegetable, not count as one,” nutrition director Margo Wootan said. She called it a bigger blunder than when President Ronald Reagan tried and failed to credit ketchup as a vegetable.

Congress is pushing back against the Obama administration and its Agriculture Department bill that limits the use of starches like potatoes, cuts sodium and boosting whole grain in school lunches.

A final version of the bill released late Monday cuts out the reforms based on the 2009 recommendations of the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences.

Though conservatives suggest the bill was a classic case of government reaching onto plates that weren’t its own, a group of retired military generals said not reforming school lunch guidelines is a national security risk.

“It doesn’t take an advanced degree in nutrition to call this a national disgrace,” Mission: Readiness Director Amy Dawson Taggart said.

Obesity is the leading medical disqualifier for military service, the release said, and children get up to 40 percent of their daily calories during the school day.

The bill suggests the tomato paste in pizza is sufficient to include the meal as a vegetable.

Comments (77)
  1. anon3 says:

    So if I can just get them to declare beer a juice I will finally have that healthy diet my doctor is always admonishing me to have.

    1. Wiglaf says:

      Beer is healthy. Pop is not. Processed orange juice is overrated. Beer is better!

    2. Mike M says:

      Be careful about following a doctor’s advice. Grandma’s doctor told her run 10 miles every day – we haven’t seen her since.

      1. Jeff Scott says:

        rofl.. love it

      2. BillV says:

        After my grandpa’s first heart attack the doctor told him if he didn’t retire he was going to die. By his 3rd heart attack the doctor told him if he had retired he would be dead. He’s 89 years old now and they still can’t keep him out of a tractor.

    3. caligula says:

      of course the left-wing idiots at the paper won’t talk about Clinton declaring yogurt a meat and salsa a vegetable (the only differences between ketchup and salsa are that ketchup doesn’t have chile and has corn syrup).

      A regulation approved by the USDA under Clinton says schools can get credit for a fruit or vegetable serving if they provide at least one-eighth of a cup of salsa.


      1. Youtopia says:

        Yogurt IS a PROTEIN equivilent to a serving of MEAT! Salsa, when made correctly, is made of chopped tomatoes, chopped chilis & onions, Ketchup is tomatoes,high fructose corn syrup & spices.

    4. Palmettohawk says:

      A cigarette or cigar classifies as a vegetable easier than a pizza does. LMAO!! Typical government looking for loopholes in it’s own programs.

  2. Peted says:

    Pepperoni, Sausage, and Cheese are definitely vegetables grown and harvested from plants: So sayeth the wise men in Congress!

    1. Scudbuster says:

      And don’t forget those anchovies!

      1. dennis says:

        and the crust……don’t forget the crust

    2. Mark says:

      This means that i can now grow pizza, apply for give subsidies and get stimulus money. Move over Bon Jovi.

  3. Mr. Reallity says:

    Well, at least they have their priorities in order now.

  4. Doug says:

    And pepsi is a fruit

  5. Doug says:

    Pay no attention to those HFCS, Hydrogenated oils, and growth hormones…. they are not the problem
    – greedy corporate factory farms
    LOOK its a vegetable !!!!

  6. PSG613 says:

    who the heck its vegitables with their pizza?

  7. Sabouttime says:

    There are a lot of people in congress that could also be classified as vegtables.

    1. Scudbuster says:

      In addition to the fruits!

      1. BillV says:

        Leave Barney Franks out of this.

  8. carl says:

    Isn’t a tomato a fruit?

    1. new324 says:

      It was classified a vegetable to get around an import tax on fruit.

  9. Doug says:

    Carl you are correct and pizza is a meal….. Is stew both a fruit and a vegatable?

  10. don gutz says:

    Being retired from public education, I can tell you every few years the food police get menus in chools to serv e “good” foods. The kids dump it into the garbase can and the cooks are faced with gettingh kids to to eat something. Let parents decide and goverment do what you can do better. Which is. . .?

    1. MarkD says:

      “the kids dump it into the garbase can”

      Yes, that’s the schools fault too…lol never the parents.

      You strucjk upon the real issue.

    2. Jeff Scott says:

      you must be a communist… we all know that it’s not parents, but the government that knows what we want and need…. long live the revolution..

    3. steamboat says:

      Yeah right… obviously retired from public education. How about half-way proofing your writing before you sumit it ?

      1. An observer says:

        It’s “suBmit”, not sumit. Same school, right?

    4. Bilbo says:

      If the kids dump perfectly good food into the garbage cans then they should be faulted for being wasteful. If they don’t eat that food then they have chosen to go hungry for the day. That would not be the schools fault. The reason that kids do this is because the parents allow their kids to make decisions before they are able to make them properly.

  11. MarkD says:

    “Pepperoni, Sausage, and Cheese are definitely vegetables grown and harvested from plants ‘

    The article cites ‘pizza’ you on the other hand, offer red herring.

    Gonna respond with ad hominem too?

    The sauce is the ONLY thing left that isn’t the crust which is of course a bread and can be still called ‘pizza;’

    But IMHO with all the salt in some tomato pastes – it should be classified as a mineral.

    1. Richard Henkle says:

      ATTENTION! Of all the comments on here, this is the stupidest!

  12. Dave says:

    Where can I purchase pizza seeds? Lets declare congress a vegetable.

    1. Will says:

      No lets declare congress a unwanted weed.

  13. Avoicenmany says:

    If thought about it, Pizza is a complete meal. At least in the form I eat one as, it contains all food groups, meats, dairy, bread/grain, plus Fruits and vegetables. Yes fruit, as Tomato is classified as fruit.
    But personally the Govt. needs to keep out of my fridge and pantry, not to mention that there a few more important on congresses plate than what we eat. Like the Friggin budget for starts. Plus there are a good many in D.C that should be having a diet of bread and water served them…

    1. phil; says:

      Oh but this is Michelle’s pet project she need something to do so why not tell us what to eat through legislation. SHows how these people think doesn’t it. She could be sponsoring a very easy to use website for recommending ways to improve your diet and healthfulness she could be sponsoring a nutritional value score for foods or something to try to persuade us to be healthier. But NOOOOOOO the route she chooses is through legislation. “Why should I hope people become healthier when I can force them to. It isn’t just our kids ( soda tax) If this isn’t fascism I dont know what is.

    2. Will says:

      And cut the congressional salaries. Only one candidate wants to do so, and that is Rep. Ron Paul R-TX RON PAUL FOR 2012!!!

  14. don gutz says:

    markd- I don’t understand your comment. The parents aren’t at the school to make sure the kids eat their government mandated lunch. Nobody stands by the garbage can arguing with Johnny to go back and finish eating his unwanted tofu and spinach salad. Get real. Provide what the kid will eat, or it goes into the can. Period! Pizza is better than nothing!

  15. Mom o' Three says:

    Silly me…I thought it was my job as a parent to make sure my kids eat healthy foods. If only I had realized it was the government’s responsibility, I could have saved so much time, energy and money putting meals together! Who knew…..

    1. Danny says:

      Too many flies, not enough fly swatters.

    2. Mark says:

      If you’re doing it, then none of this matters to you. Why are you complaining? You do understand that anyone can have children, don’t you? Even idiots can reproduce as much as they want. Just because you know what’s good for your children does not mean everyone does. Just because you have the organs and systems in your body to make new life does not mean you have the upbringing and intelligence to make good choices, either. Since you apparently do, be thankful that the government is out there watching out for those who don’t – because your kids have to interact with those kids, weather you like it or not.

  16. MDWhite says:

    Why don’t we pass a law classifying democrats who serve in Congress as “vegetables”? And let’s not forget the California State legislature…and the editorial board of the New York Times…and Chris Matthews…and let’s not forget Joe Biden.

  17. stan_in_usa says:

    The stupidity of politicians – since pizza contains tomato sauce, a tomato is scientifically known as a FRUIT, not a vegetable.

    1. Mike M says:

      For over 50 years I’ve been careful to eat a balanced diet with something from each of the four major food groups every day, salt, sugar, fat and alcohol. I’m doing just fine.

  18. Mike M says:

    Do I have this straight? Ketchup and pizza sauce are both 99% tomato paste but one is a vegetable when you put it on a crust along with cheese and sometimes meat toppings and the other is not when you put it on a hamburger roll with cheese and a meat patty. …?

    And you let these people pass an over 2000 page ‘law’ letting them control our health care!!!!? What the hell were you thinking?

  19. phil says:

    Oh no!!!! they get up to 40% or their daily calories at school where they also spend about 40% of their day….. go figure.

  20. Sam E Moore Jr says:

    Last I checked my local Pizza place has 12 kinds of Pizza .
    Triple Cheese .. 4 Cheeses … 1 to 6 Meats .
    PLain and extra sauce .
    Veg. would mean all Tomato no cheese .
    I just wish the Govt. would be enveloped , In Wars , Storms ,Floods , Earthquakes .
    Not what we eat ,use , drive , drink or smoke

  21. JWS says:

    This kind of reporting is why no one watches CBS Evening News.

  22. desert says:

    Idiots! but guess that ties right in with their calling lies the truth!

  23. Cogito says:

    The Center for Science is anything but about scince. A bunch of Leftwing kooks.

  24. Hyperion says:

    All congress critters can immediately be declared vegetables as they show no signs of brain activity.

  25. free man says:

    how about if the government just stops feeding ou children and we as parents do our jobs and feed our own kids. that seems simple enough for me.

  26. captain pickles says:

    More liberal urban myths. Reagan didn’t just wake up one day and proclaim catsup was a vegetable. In mid-1981, only a few months after Reagan took office, the democratic controlled Congress cut $1 billion from child-nutrition funding and gave the USDA 90 days–the blink of an eye, for the federal bureaucracy–to come up with new standards that would enable school districts to economize, in theory without compromising nutrition.

    The USDA convened a panel of nutritionists and food service directors to ponder what to do. One option on the table–no one later would admit to putting it there–was to “accept catsup as a fruit/vegetable when used as an ingredient.”

    As for pizza being a vegetable, lets not be misleading. It’s the tomato paste in the pizza sauce that’s a vegetable. Even though tomatoes are technically a fruit, they do have great nutritional value.

  27. caligula says:

    of course the left-wing idiots at the paper won’t talk about Clinton declaring yogurt a meat and salsa a vegetable (the only differences between ketchup and salsa are that ketchup doesn’t have chile and has corn syrup).

    A regulation approved by the USDA under Clinton says schools can get credit for a fruit or vegetable serving if they provide at least one-eighth of a cup of salsa.


  28. yarply says:

    Actually pizza doesn’t really fit into any single food group because it has such a large variety of toppings but I guess if you go by that criteria a hamburger could be classified as a vegetable also.

  29. Ratt says:

    Well, according to my 10 year old, ketchup is a vegetable.

  30. BLT on Wheat says:

    should we not force them to eat BLT’s Seems as though the veggies win 2-1!

  31. eaglewingz08 says:

    A tomato is a FRUIT not a VEGETABLE, scientifically speaking. So the classification of a tomato as a vegetable, even if Congress had the constitutional authority to declaim on scientific matters, which powers, Article I noticeably omits, would be arbitrary and irrational.

    1. Steve Turi says:

      So, you think ketchup should be declared a fruit?

  32. Steve Turi says:

    I’m waiting for those clowns in Washington to declare Rum a ‘fruit juice.’ It would be the only time Congress did something constructive for my diet. Congress doesn’t seem to know it’s collective a$$ from a hole in the ground about the reality of pizza. But, I’m sure it’s trying to get around the administration’s food police so the kids can continue to enjoy pizza in modest amounts. Schools don’t serve full pizza’s to kids at lunch, so what’s the food police’s problem?

  33. Randy Tunnell says:

    Why don’t we classify Congress as Vegetables?

  34. Jeff says:

    This is in a spending bill!?! If this isn’t a perfect example of why the governmental system is so F’d and more evidence that Congress has WAY too much time on their hands, I don’t know what is.

  35. Rick says:

    Next Michele will claim that her family’s favorite dinner, fried shrimp is a veggie, but will still tell kids not to eat it.

  36. Brandon says:

    If pizza is a veggie, then beer must be fruit juice, cigarettes are grains, and weed is your “greens”. Love it!!!

  37. sugar231 says:

    Wait…who was the moron that called obesity a national security issue?? The reason we have obese children is not because of what they eat in school, it’s because they no longer get any exercise in school!

  38. Matthew says:

    But tomatoes ARE a vegetable! The Supreme Court said so (so New York could tax them). http://laws.findlaw.com/us/149/304.html

    Therefore, if tomato sauce were a vegetable, pizza would be a vegetable salad.

  39. Abby says:

    Where can I buy pizza seeds??

  40. Aisha M. says:

    I heard you can find them right next to the french fry seeds.

    This is ridiculous. Michelle Obama finds something she’s really passionate about and I think it’s great. I love her campaigns to fight childhood obesity. We’re practically feeding these kids a heart attack on a plate. It’s so sad that Congress is more worried about saving the food companies rather than the health of the children in our nation. Some children have legitimate excuses to choose school lunch over having their parents fix something for them everyday. It can even be costly to do so for children who qualify for free lunch.

  41. Fatty says:

    I ate school lunches growing up and look at me, I turned out just fine.

    Oh wait. I’m obese. Nevermind.

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