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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Broccoli, Peppers and…Pizza Sauce?

In another blow to increase the healthiness of school lunches, pizza sauce is considered a vegetable.


Photo: Andrew (Flickr)

Two tablespoons of tomato paste count as a vegetable in school lunch -- about the amount on a slice of pizza.

It wasn’t so long ago Congress promised fans of potatoes their tater tots were safe on school lunch menus.

Now as the Obama administration fights to improve the health content of school lunches, Congress has approved pizza sauce as a vegetable.

Tomato paste is currently classified as a vegetable in school lunches, but the USDA had hoped to change that.

Lobbyists pushed back hard. Tomato producers and potato farmers are cheering the guidelines as a victory for personal choice and cost effectiveness.

Nutrition advocate Margo Wootan wasn’t cheering.

“They are making sure that two of the biggest problems in the school lunch program, pizza and french fries, are untouched,” she says.

Read More:

  • Pizza is a vegetable? Congress says yes (MSNBC)
  • US lawmakers: Pizza sauce is a vegetable (AFP)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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