Congress has taken on a long-neglected injustice in the food pyramid and will push to ensure that pizza, once derided as little more than a triangular delivery system for sodium and saturated fats, be finally recognized as the wholesome vegetable that it is. Our tax dollars, God's work.
On Monday, Republican-controlled House of Representatives introduced a spending bill — a measure far more significant than their initial whining and foot-stomping — that would obviate a proposal made earlier this year by the Agriculture Department to limit the amount of potatoes and sodium, as well as increase the number of whole grains, served in school cafeterias. Unsurprisingly, changes to the Agriculture's proposal had been requested by frozen pizza companies and the salt and potato industries, which worry that, deprived of essential french fry nutrients, American children will begin to absorb too much water and explode like Senator Kelly from the first X-Men movie. Some conservative congressional members have also expressed concerns that the government shouldn't be telling children what to eat, especially if they're eating frozen pizza and French fries, and so have crafted a bill that, according to CBS, would "prevent overly burdensome and costly regulations and...provide greater flexibility for local school districts to improve the nutritional quality of meals." The bill includes language qualifying that the gross tomato paste used in school pizzas be considered a vegetable; once classified as a vegetable, the paste would count towards fulfilling the vegetable portion of nutritional guidelines.
House Republicans and lobbyists have been fighting the healthy lunch proposal since spring, when the Wall Street Journal reported that potato sellers were also employing some creative semantics to brand potatoes as "gateway vegetables," which could one day lead children to broccoli, an interesting color reversal from drug prevention's green (marijuana) to white (some iteration of cocaine). Even though the Agriculture Department's proposal was based on recommendations made in 2009 by the Institute of Medicine regarding the increasing rate of childhood obesity and the future rise in health care costs, House Republicans haven't been deterred from broadening the definition of vegetable, not even when faced with criticism from Mission: Readiness, a group of former generals that targets poor nutrition as "a national security issue," presumably because it threatens to make lumpy doughboys out of our soldiers.
In an effort to show solidarity with the Republican-controlled House, I imagine that the Christian right will introduce a slice of pizza as the new Veggie Tales character who the other members of the group try really hard to accept as one of their own despite his cheesiness.
Image via Dan Peretz/Shutterstock.