Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced the SLICE Act on Monday to prevent pizza from being counted as a vegetable in federally funded school lunch menus.
“Agribusinesses should never dictate the quality of school meals,” Polis said. “Big food companies have their priorities, which include selling cheap, unhealthy foods at high profits. But parents and schools have their priorities; making sure our kids eat right because research shows a clear connection between nutrition and student performance in school.”
Last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed a rule aimed to limit — but not eliminate — french fries and pizza on school lunch menus.
According to school lunch regulations, an eighth of a cup of tomato paste has as much nutritional value as half a cup of vegetables. The proposed regulation would have made a half cup of tomato paste, which is too much to put on a slice of pizza, count as a half cup of vegetables.
But Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee rejected the new rules, painting them as “burdensome and costly regulations.”
The SLICE Act would reverse Congress’ decision, allowing the USDA to count 1/8 of a cup of tomato paste as 1/8 of a cup, implement science-based sodium reduction targets and set a whole grain requirement.
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