- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
Don’t think it’s all fun and games up on Capitol Hill these days. Important steps are being taken to protect our nation’s children from being forced to eat vegetables:
The final version of a spending bill released late Monday would unravel school lunch standards the Agriculture Department proposed earlier this year. These include limiting the use of potatoes on the lunch line, putting new restrictions on sodium and boosting the use of whole grains. The legislation would block or delay all of those efforts.
The bill also would allow tomato paste on pizzas to be counted as a vegetable, as it is now. USDA had wanted to only count a half-cup of tomato paste or more as a vegetable, and a serving of pizza has less than that.
Decline-o-meter: Yes, this seems like an odd priority at a time when the U.S. has the highest obesity rate of any wealthy country, but as the Washington Post notes, it’s not exactly new:
Nutritionists say the whole effort is reminiscent of the Reagan administration’s much-ridiculed attempt 30 years ago to classify ketchup as a vegetable to cut costs. This time around, food companies that produce frozen pizzas for schools, the salt industry and potato growers requested the changes and lobbied Congress.
Pass those (frozen) hash browns. It’s morning in America again!
Also, this is probably good preparation for the Cain presidency.