You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 8:13 p.m.

Pizza is a vegetable? Congress fights Obama administration attempts to make school lunches healthier

By Staff


A cheese pepperoni pizza with a garden salad, apple turnover and milk for lunch at Lafayette Elementary School in Lincoln Park, Mich.

William Archie | AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — Who needs leafy greens and carrots when pizza and french fries will do?

In an effort many 9-year-olds will cheer, Congress wants pizza and french fries to stay on school lunch lines and is fighting the Obama administration's efforts to take unhealthy foods out of schools.

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.

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.


Ron Granger

Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 2:54 p.m.

A longer version of this story reports that lobbyists for the *salt industry* opposed the reduction in sodium! Hence the attempt to strip that reduction from the program. Let's hope the tobacco industry doesn't force candy cigarettes for dessert. And I agree - let's gets some names of who is pushing for the "badness".

hut hut

Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 2:28 p.m.

I refuse to pay higher health insurance rates for those who can't or wont eat healthier. This is the free market at work. People who eat healthy foods should get a discount on health insurance and not be made to pay for those who eat unhealthy food's (like greasy pizza) drink too much alcohol and smoke cigarettes (I neither drink alcohol nor smoke) I propose that those who refuse to eat a healthier diet pay more to cover their long term health costs. You want to eat unhealthy? Pay all the related costs yourself!


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 9:17 p.m.

Lot's a luck there hut hut. It's not like you're going to have a choice if you want health insurance.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 4:25 p.m.

Wow, thanks for making me feel so great! I have food allergies and eating an apple will put me in the hospital. I do my best to eat right, but a lot of healthy foods will kill me or make me sick. Why don't you try to live in someone else's shoes before treating them all down and placing blame on them?

hut hut

Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 3:02 p.m.

A single glass of red wine might be ok, but the whole bottle is excessive and unhealthy


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 2:52 p.m.

<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 1:45 p.m.

Lets see, we can save money and save lives by feeding kids healthier food. But some oppose this? Why? <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Are these the same people that had to have a war to &quot;save lives&quot; from &quot;dirty bombs&quot; and Iraqi wmd's? Why is it that myth trumps reality in many circles?


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 1:41 p.m.

WOW, they can make laws banning gay marriage, put God in our money and pass laws about Sharia Law, but are against healthy food for kids? Amazing.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 1:36 p.m.

If you offer both the &quot;healthy&quot; and &quot;unhealthy&quot; foods the majority of children will take the &quot;unhealthy&quot; food every time. Just like their parents. If you offer only the &quot;healthy&quot; food they'll find something else or just eat what they like from the &quot;healthy&quot; plate and throw the rest away. It is reality and I don't see a miracle on the horizon changing that.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 1:54 p.m.

You are right, JSA. My kids are in high school and college and take their lunches, but when they were in elementary school, the only days they wanted to eat school lunch was on pizza son always wanted an extra dollar for an extra slice of pizza, too. Just like their parents --- True, my parents always bought the weekly &quot;hot lunch&quot; ticket for me. I rarely ate anything on the plate except dessert, and my Mom told me the school would call and tell her that I didn't eat at school - no surprise to her.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 4:52 a.m. that picture...I'm pretty sure that's a CHERRY turnover, not an apple. But I digress. Food has come a long way from the cardboard pizza and meatstuff hamburger I ate in elementary school. I was thrilled to have real pizza in middle school and then I had the whole of downtown to choose from in high school. Don't get me started on college food (sooo baaaad!!). What's so hard about putting apples, bananas, salads, etc in school lunches? Carrot sticks and dip? Mixed veggies? Why are we fighting for this? It should be a no brainer! But if you don't like the school lunches then pack your kids lunch! You can make it the night before to save time. But is a PB&amp;J any better?


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 2:57 a.m.

feed the kids only veggies, humus (whatever that crap is) and soy products! Nothing else! It will cure childhood obesity but anorexia just may be increased.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 2:21 p.m.

A mass produced cherry pie is &quot;crap&quot;. hummus is healthy food that nourishes the body.

sun runner

Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 1:38 p.m.

Chickpeas, tahini (sesame paste), garlic, lemon juice, parsley and a little cayenne pepper...homemade and delicious.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 1:10 p.m.

Hummus is chickpeas.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 2:39 a.m.

Wait, if pizza is taken off school menus, Herman Caine and Tom Monaghan won't get their government handout....


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 10 p.m.

Our politicians are bought and sold on the auction block, we all know that. But this is a new low. Sodium, frozen pizza, and potato grower lobbies for the win at the expense of our kids health, childhood diabetes, and the medical costs that we all bare? Pathetic.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 9:51 p.m.

Can we get a list of which congressmen were on the committee that approved the changes? I'm no marine biologist, but I'd say that committee's a good place to start if you want to weed out political corruption. Hmmmmm, interesting survey. I'm guessing the the vote's going to be split between adults and kids. Again, not an expert on it... <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 9:07 p.m.

The government has no idea what's healthy. Grains most certainly aren't, whole or otherwise. We shouldn't have a federal school lunch program at all, or a federal Education Department for that matter. All can be handled at the state level and lower. I'm all for spending a bit more money to have lunches made from whole foods on-site instead of the manufactured &quot;food&quot; that's usually served today.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 4:38 p.m.

Published research: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Or just read this FAQ: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Why do doctors push grains? Why does the federal government subsidize them? Why does Big Ag subsidize congressmen? Why is grain growing uniquely well suited for mechanization? Who controls what doctors are taught? Derive your own conspiracy theory. Or just chalk it up to garbage in, garbage out. You'd think that eventually people would figure out that obesity keeps getting worse and maybe the anti-meat, anti-fat, whole grain approach isn't the way to go, especially when annoying people like me try Paleo and lose excess weight effortlessly and get stronger while eating lots of tasty red meat. And our guts heal. And seasonal allergies disappear. And... Whole foods: as in beef, carrots, tomatoes, yams, chicken, eggs, etc. Not Frozen Meal-in-a-Box #6 with Petroleum Flavoring. Not kidding about petroleum either, most of what's labeled FD&amp;C Color #x is derived from petroleum as are most artificial flavors and many preservatives. And the solution pushed for the ADHD caused by those toxic additives is prescription amphetamines. Why do some people assume that if the federal government doesn't do something it doesn't get done? We didn't even have a federal Dept. of Education until President Carter! Federal school lunches came a little earlier, FDR I think? Instead of sending money to the feds, letting them take a cut, and sending what's left back to the states with a fat pile of paperwork attached why not run something as basic as a lunch program at the state and/or local level? Oh, that's right, Uncle Sugar has a credit card called the federal debt. What could possibly go wrong?

Ron Granger

Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 2:52 p.m.

Can you cite scholarly research that supports your contention that whole grains are unhealthy?


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 1:09 p.m.

Wow, another TeaParty talking point. Is it any surprise it's not based in reality?

Terrin Bell

Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 4:31 a.m.

Yes, I am sure the State can afford that all while laying off teachers, police, and firefighters.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 3:27 a.m.

&quot;The government has no idea what's healthy. Grains most certainly aren't, whole or otherwise. &quot; Who told you this lie? Whole grains ARE healthy. In fact the things that are least healthy to most people are their huge consumption of saturated fats, trans fats and animal products &quot;We shouldn't have a federal school lunch program at all, or a federal Education Department for that matter&quot; Ridiculous right wing propaganda. I guess you like poorer people not having access to food or education. It will keep the unwashed masses from learning anything.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 2:54 a.m.

Then why does my doctor tell me to eat high-grain products due to the fiber intake? And what &quot;whole foods&quot; are you talking about? how would you go about doing it?