Should Pizza Be Classified As A Vegetable? Crusading Lawmaker Thinks Not

When I ask for a burger with a side salad, what I’m really after is a nice slice of pizza. Hey, it’s a vegetable, right, Congress? U.S. Rep. Jared Polis has had it with this whole “pizza is totally a vegetable because it has tomatoes in it” thing, and has announced new legislation that would allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture to implement nutrition standards for pizza.

According to CBS 4 in Denver, Polis says Congress “has actually declared pizza to be a vegetable,” which is just silly.

“Pizza may be fine to eat from time to time, but it ain’t a vegetable,” he said, adding that he’s not anti-pizza in general, if it’s served with something healthy.

After all, should an eighth of a cup of tomato paste equal a nice plate of greens, a side of carrots or broccoli? Nope, says Polis, which means it shouldn’t count for the vegetable in federally subsidized school lunches. To be clear — Congress has never said, “Yes, pizza is a vegetable.” It does count tomato paste a serving of vegetables, however.

Polis has introduced the “Slice Act” to improve lunch at schools and do away with the pizza loophole and effectively nix any future arguments from kids yowing, “But it IS a vegetable! Give me pizza!”

Rep. Polis Doesn’t Want Pizza Classified As A Vegetable Anymore [CBS4 Denver]


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  1. az123 says:

    Glad there is nothing else that congress needs to deal with that is important for the country

    • Posthaus says:

      ^This is all that needs to be said.

      • Lucky225 says:

        Or you know, instead of children wasting the tax payer’s money to be fed every single day, their parents could pack their own lunch with whatever they deem healthy and take some responsibility.

        • PunditGuy says:

          Irresponsible parents = children should starve. That’s just peachy.

          I’m sorry that civilization pains you so.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            Not to get too involved in this topic, but if government was allowed to get involved in the lives of families who claim they are too poor, they might be able to steer parents in the right direction to no longer be reliant on assistance.

            Like making them end their expensive phone plans and trade in their fancy cars. Not applicable to everyone, but there are plenty of “poor” people who buy things they don’t need and then claim they can’t feed their kids.

            • notserpmh says:

              Just as a small counter point to that (although I am in favor of school lunches and most “social” programs), the reason you often see “poor” people with fancy phones/cars/shoes/tvs, etc is because of the dumb way the government has setup the programs.

              I learned this from a friend a few years back. He had a degree in CS, had a good job, wife, 2 kids. Got laid off. For whatever reason, he struggled to find a new job, despite actively looking. Had to sell their home and move in with the in-laws. Things go so bad, he put his kids on Medicaid so he could get them healthcare. He never took any other aid, other than that.

              Anyway, he takes a job at my company that is an entry level, hourly position, much lower than where he was before, but at least it is something. He starts saving so they can get out of the parents house, build back their financial cushion and get back on their feet. He finds out that if he gets more than $5,000 in his checking/savings account (I think it was around that, can’t remember exactly), his kids get cut off from medicaid, even if he still can’t yet afford health care. No gradual reduction in benefits or anything either, just cold turkey out, so then if a kid gets sick, he has to dip back in his savings, which puts him back where he was.

              His solution, save it all in cash until he had enough to get off of medicaid. The solution for a lot of people though is just to spend it so they can keep on the programs they can never really get off of.

              • FatLynn says:

                Yup, that’s why lower-income families go out and blow their tax refunds almost immediately. It’s not because they are incapable of thinking about the future; it’s because the second they build up savings, the government cuts their benefits.

            • PunditGuy says:

              Which part of irresponsible are you not understanding? Not helping the kids won’t make them magically responsible — it’ll just result in dead kids.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          FYI, school lunches are bought by children at school, too. It’s not just provided for poor kids.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I guess you didn’t RTFA or didn’t connect the dots.

      School lunches get away with serving children pizza and declaring it a vegetable. Now, there is nothing wrong with serving children pizza on occasion; but, the current loophole allows them to not only serve pizza frequently, but to serve it instead of real vegetables. We can argue until the end of time whether pizza should be served at schools, but no one is going to win the arguement that pizza is a good substitute for a variety raw and cooked fresh vegetables.

      • Kuri says:

        You mean those things that school will fight tooth and nail to avoid spending money on?

      • Firethorn says:

        This topic seems to come up every couple weeks.

        1. It’s not declaring pizza a vegetable. It’s a serving of vegetables. More specifically, in order to do so it has to have a certain quantity of tomato paste on it, and said quantity of paste gives it a quantity of vitamins and such so that it’s similar to a serving of vegetables. Remember, different vegetables have different amounts themselves.
        2. If it has similar nutritional qualities as a serving of ‘real’ vegetables, why shouldn’t it count as a serving of vegetables?
        3. How do you define ‘real’ vegetables? How does ‘real’ vegetables that kids don’t eat superior to to the pizza that they do eat? When a kid, I’d rarely eat the steam-table overcooked vegies they tossed on my tray anyways. About once a week I got the pizza, and I always ate that.
        4. Sure I can. Old ‘bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush’ argument – it’s a constant battle in school cafeterias to balance school lunches to be: affordable, nutritious, and palatable. The most affordable and nutritious meal is worthless if the munchkins won’t eat it. Of course, rereading your post I see you mentioning fresh vegetables, which I don’t remember ever seeing in school. I only ever saw the stuff out of industrial sized cans that was cooked towards being 3/4 mush. Makes the fresh vegetable argument a bit of a strawman, in my opinion.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Really? A slice of pizza may have the same nutritional contents as a single tomato. Sure, I’ll allow that for the moment.

          But in additional to that, it has lots of fat, calories, and sodium. Lots of stuff that makes pizza unhealthy.

          This, compared to just vegetables, which by and law have little fat or calories yet are quite filling. The ones with fat have natural, healthy fat, and less of it.

          The fact anyone compares pizza to a plain old vegetable is just assinine.

          • bonzombiekitty says:

            Provided they count the pizza as containing a serving of fat or sugar, then counting it as containing a serving a vegetables is no problem. The fat and other bad stuff in the pizza doesn’t destroy the good nutritional value in the pizza (it may outweigh it, but it doesn’t destroy it). Provided they count the bad along with the good, it’s not a crazy idea to count a certain amount of pizza sauce as a serving of vegetables.

    • JJFIII says:

      Yeah, we wouldn’t want congress to worry about the future generations of this country. It is much more important to fight for tax breaks for multi-millionaires and spending money on killing civilians in wars.

      • oldwiz65 says:

        You forgot getting rid of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security so that the government doesn’t have to pay to keep useless people alive. I’m just waiting for them to declare anyone over 65 ineligible for any ind of government benefits, be it Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, or anything else.

        • ChuckECheese says:

          Why not? They’ve pretty much declared anybody under 65 ineligible for any assistance.

    • Jawaka says:

      I always laugh when someone criticizes a politician for spending a time on something that they don’t find important. Its basically like saying that all the minor issues should just be ignored.

  2. Coffee says:

    Vegetable: I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it. And you, pizza, are no vegetable.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      It must be a vegetable, my mom went and bought some pizza seeds to plant
      this spring. And my mom wouldn’t lie to me about something like that, right?

    • Nogard13 says:

      Is it an Animal? Is it a Mineral? If the answer to both of these are no, then it HAS to be a Vegetable.

      • sqlrob says:

        So how many servings of vegetables is a rum and coke? I need to know so I can adjust my diet.

    • Difdi says:

      Hey, if pizza is a vegetable, then so are donuts. They contain sugar cane, after all…

  3. Blueskylaw says:

    “Should Pizza Be Classified As A Vegetable? Crusading Lawmaker Thinks Not”

    My doctor said that the six servings of “vegetables” I eat everyday will soon kill me.

  4. galm666 says:

    Look, I love pizza.

    But it’s not a damned vegetable. It may be topped with them, but it is not a pizza. Calling pizza a vegetable based on that logic means that if I wear enough leather, it makes me a cow.

  5. Cosmo_Kramer says:


    Tomatos are vegetables. Tomato paste is concentrated tomato solids. Because it is concentrated, a smaller volume of tomato paste is necessary to count as a serving of vegetables. And there is nothing wrong with that. This guy is pandering to idiots who react to poorly written articles/headlines.

    • Tim says:

      So is ketchup a vegetable?

      • PunditGuy says:

        Saint Ronnie thought so. He cut school lunches to pay for $600 hammers for the Pentagon, insisting the whole time that ketchup was a vegetable.

        • spartan says:

          By the second term, “Sweet Ronnie” as you call him was pretty much a vegetable himself.

        • Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

          The whole ketchup as a vegetable is very misunderstood. What they wanted classified as a serving of vegetables was a tomato concentrate that had a full serving of tomatoes with the water removed and then flavored like and served instead of ketchup.

          • JJFIII says:

            RIDICULOUS. Based on that “logic” Mountain Dew contains citric acid which is in citrus fruits. Therefore we will count a Mountain Dew as a serving of fruit. You obviously have no knowledge of nutrition or food. Which of course is typical of Americans. Obesity continues to rise as fools make the argument that ketchup is a serving of vegetables. I suppose beer is also a serving of grain.

            • Firethorn says:

              Did you read his post? It’s a ‘ketchup’ in the same sense that ovalqwick is a chocolate milk drink. IE they changed the recipe to beef up nutritive value, to the point that it probably has more nutrition in it than what’s left in that 1/4 cup or so of mushy peas.

              Mountain Dew might contain citric acid(vit. C), but it doesn’t contain enough of it to be significant. In order to count as a serving of fruit, they’d need to add enough vitamin C as an apple(10% RDA), some vitamin A, preferably some calcium/iron. At which point it might not taste much like Mountain Dew, but that’s where the food taste experts come in…

              There’s nothing wrong with serving pizza for lunch, especially if you let the food engineers at it and do things like use ‘just enough’ of a lower-fat cheese, extra tomato paste based sauce, and a relatively thin whole wheat crust.

            • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

              Mountain Dew contains orange juice concentrate. You should read the ingredients.

      • Cosmo_Kramer says:

        Ketchup contains a vegetable. Why is this so hard for people to understand? You don’t even have to read more than this article to know that no one ever claimed that pizza is a vegetable.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      For someone insisting that a fruit is a vegetable you better watch how you throw around that ‘i’ word.

      • QuantumCat says:

        Tomato is a vegetable as well as a fruit. They’re not mutually exclusive categories.

        It’s a fruit from a botanical perspective and a vegetable from a culinary perspective.

        Fruit is used in both fields, but it has a different meaning in each.

        • tooluser says:

          Congress actually *DID* enact into law that tomatoes are vegetables. They have never declared that pizza is a vegetable. Nor did they ever declare that ketchup is a vegetable.
          (In the latter two cases, they *DID* enact into law that certain amounts of tomato paste or tomato ketchup provided equivalent nutrition to the vegetable tomato.)

          Really people, do some thinking and reading before falling for Leftist hype.

          And buy a juicer, and use it, and get your daily allotment of fruits and vegetables (minus most fiber) first thing in the morning. And then eat more whole fruits and vegetables the rest of the day. And some whole grains, legumes, and lean meats and low-fat dairy.

          You shall thereby vanquish your enemies and hear the lamentation of their women.

      • Cosmo_Kramer says:

        Seriously man, you couldn’t get through two paragraphs? Click your link and read TWO paragraphs.


    • OutPastPluto says:

      …except the “tomato paste” argument ignores the fact that there is generally no “tomato paste” on a pizza. It’s tomato sauce. That’s a much more dilute form of tomatoes.

      At the rate you’re going ketchup will be declared a vegetable again.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        No, tomato sauce and what is used for pizza is very different. You would have to reduce sauce to get it to the level that pizza sauce is. If it is too wet, it will soak into the crust and also run.

  6. snazz says:

    considering there has never been a single ingredient in a standard cheese pizza that is (or was ever) a vegetable, pizza should absolutely not qualify as a vegetable.

    FYI: a tomato is a fruit

    • Cosmo_Kramer says:

      FYI – tomatoes are considered fruits AND vegetables, Melvin.

      • snazz says:

        botanically its a fruit. the US government decided to declare it a vegetable in the late 1800s because they could then tax imported tomatoes (since only vegetables, and not fruits, could be taxed).

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          The U.S. didn’t exact decide. It was actually settled by the Supreme Court.


          The money quote, from the majority decision:

          “Botanically speaking, tomatoes are the fruit of a vine, just as are cucumbers, squashes, beans, and peas. But in the common language of the people, whether sellers or consumers of provisions, all these are vegetables which are grown in kitchen gardens, and which, whether eaten cooked or raw, are, like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets, cauliflower, cabbage, celery, and lettuce, usually served at dinner in, with, or after the soup, fish, or meats which constitute the principal part of the repast, and not, like fruits generally, as dessert.”

          • partofme says:

            Since we’re dealing with technicalities upon technicalities in this thread, the Supreme Court is a coequal branch of the US Government. If only I could find a video link to Futurama’s “Technically correct is THE BEST KIND of correct!”

          • JJFIII says:

            The Supreme Court IS part of the US, despite you thinking it is not.

            • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

              You said decide, as if there was a choice. And you said the U.S. Government, which again suggests a law was passed or some independent decision was made. But in the end, existing laws were interpretted, and simply affirmed.

        • sqlrob says:

          So what about corn?

          Green beans?
          Sweet peppers?
          Hot peppers?

      • crispyduck13 says:

        Unless you are talking about different edible parts of a plant, then no – you cannot have item X be both fruit and vegetable. It is an issue of scientific classification vs. long standing language error. Which do you think is more correct?

        You know what, don’t answer that.

        • QuantumCat says:

          Neither is more correct than the other. Vegetable isn’t a scientific classification, while fruit can be. There is more than one correct definition for a term, and an item can fit multiple classifications.

          • OutPastPluto says:

            Fruits and vegetables have certain characteristics. You can classify them by botany or nutritional content but you still end up coming up with the same results if you bother to pay any attention to the relevant details at all.

            An understandable cultural error is being magnified and exploited in a manner that’s not at all understandable or reasonable.

        • iesika says:

          “Unless you are talking about different edible parts of a plant”

          …Which you really shouldn’t be, since most of a tomato plant is poisonous. It’s in the nightshade family.

        • Cosmo_Kramer says:

          Is water a chemical compound or a liquid (at room temperature)? It can’t be both, right? Melvin.

  7. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    Mr. Polis, the need to have something healthy with pizza IS an anti-pizza stance.


  8. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Tomatoes are a fruit.

  9. Lucky225 says:

    Vegetable? Hell no, Pizza has all 4 food groups, vegetable(tomato), meat(pepperoni/sausage/whatever meat topping), bread/wheat/grain(dough/crust), and milk/dairy(cheese). Fuck yea, get all those carbs and your daily intake of the 4 groups in one nice fatty slice

  10. Dr.Wang says:

    Pizza should be listed as a dietary source of fat and carbs.

    God may strike me down for blaspheming the yummiest food in the world, but that’s the truth.

    • OutPastPluto says:

      Pizza can stand on it’s own merits.

      It doesn’t need to depend on silly lies and corrupt politicians.

  11. dolemite says:

    “if it’s served with something healthy. “. Why? If I want a double cheeseburger, I don’t want a stack of carrots or “apple crispers”.

  12. misterfweem says:

    They can declassify pizza as a vegetable as long as they classify politicans as vegetables in the same legislation.

  13. PsiCop says:

    Here is what this entire story boils down to: Polis lied when he said Congress “has actually declared pizza to be a vegetable.” His problem is, this never happened. Congress never did any such thing.

    So why is the mass media indulging him and the lie he’s telling? Why is no one pointing out to him that he’s lying? Everyone seems to be too impressed by his sanctimonious outrage to undersand that what he’s saying is quite simply untrue — and has to know it.

    There’s no story here, except for the sanctimonious outrage about school lunches. Really, this kind of B.S. needs to stop. When are the media going to toughen up, and refuse to let some lying Congressman’s faux outrage rule the day?

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      He’s a democrat. Therefore, the fact checking step is skipped and whatever he claims is reported as gospel truth and repeated ad nauseam until everyone thinks it’s true.

      • iesika says:

        You say that like they don’t do that just as often (or possibly more) with Republicans.

        The mainstream media isn’t much for fact checking at all anymore.

      • PsiCop says:

        I doubt partisanship has anything to do with it. The mass media dutifully report all the GOP’s tantrum-like outrages, too. Reporters don’t have any cojones any more.

    • kobresia says:

      Did you even read anything in the post here or the article you linked to?

      The issue was pretty well-explained everywhere.

      Congress didn’t directly declare “pizzas are a serving of vegetables”, they declared the specific amount of tomato paste in a piece of pizza to be equivalent to a serving of vegetables in order to deliberately make school cafeteria pizza count (vicariously) as a serving of vegetables.

      Six of one, half dozen of the other.

      It’s really not that difficult to understand.

  14. Hoss says:

    There’s a stronger argument with potato chips

  15. dush says:

    Pizza also has olives and mushrooms and onions and peppers and tomatoes and artichoke hearts, etc.

    • iesika says:

      Only if you do it right. I’ve never seen a pizza like that in a school cafeteria, even in college.

      • OutPastPluto says:

        School cafeteria pizza is a disgrace to the name pizza.

        Never mind this side show about being declared a vegetable.

  16. Bog says:

    More specifically, technically speaking, a tomato is a berry, a subset of a fruit.

  17. powermetal2000 says:

    Pizza is a vegetable? I think the people in Congress are the vegetables.

  18. Darury says:

    Why is it I have to play “guess the party” any time a Democrat (which Rep Polis is) does something idiotic, but had he been a Republican, the headline would have read that evil right-wingers want to ban children from enjoying pizza?

    • v1ctorsag3 says:

      I was thinking more along the lines of if it were a Republican pushing the issue, the headline would be “Conservatives Trying to Keep America Fat”.

      The first line of the article would read, “Moronic Rep Right-Winger (R) wants to declare pizza a vegetable because it has tomato sauce on it, which is a fruit.”

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      Because you live in a world only tangentially aligned with reality? Seriously. This persecution complex that seems to plague so many on the right (as in opposite of left, not as in correct) side of the political spectrum is a real epidemic, these days.

  19. SilverBlade2k says:

    I bet the whole ‘pizza as a vegetable’ thing was pushed by the education system so they can say ‘we serve vegetables for lunch!’ when pizza is probably far cheaper then actual vegetables…

  20. MacUser1986 says:

    I’m glad congress feels this is such a huge topic over…a depression.

    If anything Pizza could be considered a “healthier” snack if it wasn’t so greasy.

  21. dicobalt says:

    I grow wild Pizzas in my home garden.

  22. bonzombiekitty says:

    Well, first of all, I have a whole problem with the idea that you need X servings of $VAGUE_FOOD_CLASSIFICATION (i.e. vegetables) per day. I’d like it to be more specific such as needing X amount of $NUTRIENT (i.e. vitamin C) per day.

    Now, if we HAVE to go with $VAGUE_FOOD_CLASSIFICATION, let’s say that half a tomato counts as a serving of vegetables by their definition. If, and that’s a big “if”, you can show that the sauce on the piece pizza contains half a tomato and that half a tomato has not been prepared to such an extent that it removes a significant amount of the desired nutrients then I have no problem with claiming that a piece of pizza has a serving of vegetables in it – same thing when it comes to grains for the crust, dairy for the cheese, and meat for the topping. However, they would also have to count it as a servings of the undesirable stuff such as fat, sugar, and salt. That makes perfect sense to me.

    Pizza in and of itself isn’t really unhealthy. A pizza with vegetables and some sort of protein is pretty healthy if you think about it. However, we don’t prepare pizza in a healthy way especially the kind used in schools, as is with most school foods. We use (a lot of) cheap, greasy cheese, load the sauce & crust with sugar and salt, tend to use high fat meats, and tone down the veggies.

  23. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    Of course pizza is a vegetable. So are Skittles.