In Congress, The Is-Pizza-a-Vegetable War Rages On

Last year's legislative battle opened a tomato sauce loophole for pizza being served in school lunchrooms. Now, one lawmaker is fighting back.

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Okay, so Congress never actually declared pizza a vegetable during last year’s legislative battle over school lunches. But they might as well have: by declaring that an eighth of a cup of tomato paste is worth as much nutritionally as a half a cup of vegetables, the new rules opened a loophole that has given pizza vegetable-like status in school lunchrooms nationwide. Now, however,  a Congressman from Colorado is fighting back.

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U.S. Rep. Jared Polis has introduced the school lunch improvements for children’s education act — yep, the SLICE Act — to allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture to implement new standards for pizza and the paste that gives it a unique designation.

Polis tells the local Denver CBS affiliate that he isn’t against pizza, he’s just against calling it something it’s not (i.e. a vegetable substitute). “What Congress has done, believe it or not, is defy logic,” he explained. “Pizza may be fine to eat from time to time, but it ain’t a vegetable.”

Congress has gotten involved in the lunchroom food fights in part because of America’s obesity issues and because lunches are federally subsidized. President Barack Obama was for eliminating the paste pardon in fall 2011, but Congress didn’t back down. We’ll have to see how the pizza gets sliced up this time around.

MORE: Healthier School Lunches: Will They Actually Change What Kids Eat?

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