Here's something I didn't know. A pizza's not a pizza
unless the government says it's a pizza. Under
Department of Agriculture regulations, the ingredients
in a frozen pizza are dictated in terms of meat and
cheese content, tomato-based sauce and the
always-important crust. Not enough meat? It ain't a
pizza, so say the feds.
But now the Agriculture watchdogs want to eliminate
these details and allow frozen pizza makers to put
whatever in a pizza that consumers want. And in the
process, a meat pizza may soon contain as little as 2
percent meat instead of the current 10-12 percent.
Now all of these fancy rules and regulations would
seem nonsense until you realize that pizzas are big
business. We Americans consume $30 billion worth of
pizza pies annually though the frozen variety accounts
for only a small percentage of that amount.
It seems that Americans' taste and waistlines have
changed since the federal regulations went into
effect. Originally designed to promote the consumption
of meats and cheeses, the guidelines are a bit
outdated these days since more Americans are embracing
healthy diets. That would mean less meats and cheese
and more items that are lower in fat content.
Some consumer groups fear the relaxation of the
minimum content guidelines will simply increase the
profits for the pizza makers. Not so say the pizza
people. They are exploring products that consumers
want so they'll keep coming back again and again.
So what can we expect from the new improved
guidelines? How about duck sausage and goat cheese
pizza with no cheese and no sauce? That's a big seller
in Chicago and with no federal requirements, it may
soon be making its way across the nation.
Actually I think it's a good idea for the feds to get
out of the pizza business anyway. Consumers will buy
what they like regardless of the exact percentage of
meat and cheese and sauce. In very general terms, if
you're watching your fat content then you should
probably avoid pizza. I don't need the feds to tell me
what I think I already know.
Now as long as the duck sausage and goat cheese
lobbyists don't get in the act, we should be OK!