This has nothing to do with personal finance, but I was so mad when I heard this report Tuesday, that I had to say something. Congress is pushing a bill that would continue to allow school lunch programs to count the two tablespoons of tomato paste on a slice of school pizza as a vegetable. Under the recommendations set to go into effect, pizza must be accompanied by an actual vegetable in order to be served.
What is wrong with Congress? This is just ridiculous. Pizza is NOT a vegetable. It may have veggies on it, and yes, the sauce is composed of tomatoes, but two tablespoons is not a serving of any vegetable. These new rules, which also limit starch vegetables like potatoes, are meant to improve children’s health. We have a major childhood obesity problem in this country. For some kids, school breakfasts and lunches are the only meals they have. What is wrong with serving them a healthy meal, without the influence of lobbying groups? Studies have shown that kids do better in school when they eat nutritious food. If we want to be competitive in the marketplace, our kids need to learn.
If Congress wonders why they only have 9% approval, they need only look at idiotic acts like this.
Lobbying Under the Guise of Austerity
Why is Congress doing this? Lobbying. The National Potato Council and the American Frozen Food Institute are worried that these new regulations will cut into their groups’ profits. Which they might. However, they were able to get it attached to a spending bill because the USDA rules would increase the cost of school lunches by $7 billion over 5 years, or $1.4 billion a year. When you consider how many children that feeds and how important early childhood nutrition is, that’s not a huge number. One DAY of the war in Iraq cost $720 million. So, this is two days’ worth of war. Aren’t our children worth sacrificing two days of war?