The War On Pizza Will Be Fought With Lobbyists

Image courtesy of (Coyoty)

Did you know that there are lobbyists for the important, quintessentially American cause of…pizza? Every part of the industry from family-owned pizzerias to companies that sell mass-produced frozen pizza sheets destined for school lunch trays has people schmoozing members of Congress on its behalf. Their greatest enemies? Nutritional labeling and Michelle Obama.

Bloomberg Business explains the lobbyists fighting for our right to eat pizza, and exactly what’s at stake. Their infographics are glorious, and will probably make you hungry.

The First Lady has nothing against pizza personally, as far as we know, but she has served as the public face of stricter school lunch nutrition standards that aim to get more vegetables and less junk food into kids during lunch. Under the old rules, a slice of cheese pizza containing a few tablespoons of sauce counted as a “vegetable,” since a slice of pizza has two tablespoons of sauce, pizza sauce is made from tomato paste, tomato paste is concentrated tomatoes, and tomatoes are vegetables.

While this logic is unassailable, there’s too much at stake for pizza-makers to lose the school market. They fought back–when school cafeterias buy $500 million worth of frozen pizza every year, do you blame them? The U.S. Department of Agriculture has left that loophole open. Pizza remains a vegetable.

Nutritional labeling, meanwhile, is a problem for pizzerias for two reasons. First, laws requiring restaurants to post calories would have them post the calorie count for the quantity that people buy, not the quantity that they necessarily eat in one sitting. Yes, an entire pizza might have 2,000 calories, but that’s a lot less disturbing when four people are sharing it for dinner, or one person eats leftover pizza for three meals in a row. (Who is that person? Not me. Nope.)

Inside the Powerful Lobby Fighting for Your Right to Eat Pizza [Bloomberg]