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The Newest Addition To The Vegetable Family: Pizza.

via flickr user rob_rob2001

That’s right as of Tuesday, November 15th, 2011, pizza is now classified as a vegetable. Obviously the initial reaction to this news is jubilation and validation that the “beer and pizza” diet you’ve embraced for the past decade IS, in fact, legitimate. Once you’re done jumping with joy you might find yourself asking “Why?” don’t worry, we got you covered there too.

As it turns out the frozen pizza lobby in Washington (yes, that’s real thing) has been pushing that the classification of the tomato paste on frozen pizzas be considered a serving of vegetables. This plays a major role in making those frozen pizzas more “nutritionally valuable” as school lunches.

The Associated press has the details:

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.

So chalk this up as a victory for anyone who’s ever been accused of “sitting around all day eating pizza and drinking beer,” so mainly college students and dudes in their 20’s. Unfortunately the losers might end up being the kids in American public schools.

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