Question of the month

Congress blocks Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act revisions regarding tomatoes and potatoes.

By Paul King, Editorial Director

Congress’s recent move to block the U.S. Department of Agriculture from implementing some rules designed to make school meals healthier has generated a lot of comment in and around the foodservice industry. For readers who haven’t kept up with the news, the USDA sought to increase the amount of tomato paste that would be required to make items—such as pizza—qualify for a serving of vegetables. The agency also wanted to limit the amount of potato products that could be served in foodservice operations.

Congress, reportedly after intense lobbying from companies that sell frozen pizzas and potato products to schools, put the kibosh on those efforts. This has led many news columnists and bloggers, including this editor, to question whether Congress should have the power to scuttle such endeavors.

Recently, FoodService Director created a new offering called “Question of the Month.” Currently found on our Facebook page, QOTM invites readers to sound off on a particular topic. We thought this would create a social media forum for readers, something that if successful would be expanded on the site.

To kick off this effort, we chose the topic of the USDA vs. Congress. Specifically, was Congress right to step in to block proposed USDA regulations regarding potatoes and tomatoes?

We’ve already gotten some interesting and informed responses. We’d like to know what you think. The best answer will appear in next month’s issue of FSD, but the debate can rage on within our Facebook page. So please take some time to visit the site and weigh in. And don’t forget to keep checking back for more provocative questions as we move into 2012.