News flash, pizza is now a vegetable!
The Agriculture Department proposed rules that would prevent schools from serving unhealthy foods like french fries and pizza on a daily basis to our nation's children. Congress blocked these rules and by doing so essentially said that pizza could be classified as a vegetable. I will let real journalists give you the details of how this all went down so check our the following links for the full scoop: New York Times, NPR and Fox News
How did pizza miraculously change into a vegetable? Who could be responsible for such an astounding realization? Who do you think would benenfit from pizza staying in schools? Big food corporations like ConAgra and Schwan Frozen Meals of course and that is exactly who was behind the lobbying efforts to make this happen. Why? Probably because they supply most of the frozen pizza and french fries to schools. Follow the money, right? It's a sad state of our food system when this is our reality. Money talks and the health of our children walk.
There's already been some great commentary on this topic so check out these sites for some great analysis: Food Politics, Mark Bittman, CSPI and Nation's Capitol
I'm sad and angry but honestly, not entirely shocked. I do not like how our food system controls most of the choices that 99% of the public make. I see so many similarities to the current Occupy Movement. When it comes to food, we are the 99% and it seems like only 1% (the Monsanto's, ConAgra, PepsiCo, CocaCola etc.) have all the control.
What makes me more sad than this news is that we are letting this happen to us. We are shocked that this is happening and we are disgusted by seeing how we care for the health of our children but what are we doing to change it? Enough lip service. It's time for action!
Maybe we need to take a cue from the Occupy Movement and take a stand. That's what's going on in New York this weekend at the Occupy Big Food protest.
What every you choose to do, be like the Nike ad and Just Do It! I'm not flying to New York this weekend but I'm making a concerted effort to avoid big food! I'm voting with my wallet. I'm also going to let my President, and my Congressional representatives know that I'm not happy with their choice! I will also tell my professional organization (whose partners include many of the big food companies listed above) that I am sad they they are not fighting this fight. Why haven't I received an email blast from the ADA asking all registered dietitians across the country to take action? Surely we as nutrition experts think that pizza and french fries are not a good choice for our children on a daily basis. Surely we should be in the forefront of promoting healthy habits to our children. Surely we should be taking action!
I challenge you to do something! Do not just read this blog and agree that change is required. Make your voice heard however feels right. Together we are strong! Together we can make a difference. Together we are the 99%!
P.S. If my four year old twins know pizza is not a vegetable, how on earth can our members of Congress?