Pasta has been reclassified as a vegetable in U.S. schools. An overhaul of national dietary regulations has resulted in pasta now counting towards the vegetable requirements in school lunches across the USA. The new school guidelines were released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture last week. The rules stipulate that: "Pasta made of vegetable flour may credit as a vegetable, even if the pasta is not served with another recognizable vegetable." Pasta can only be regarded as a vegetable serving if it is made with potato, soy or other starchy, vegetable-based flour. Shocked critics of the new rules joked that bread could be regarded as a vegetable as that is also made from flour.
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Other changes outlined include the halving of fruit given to children for breakfast and the provision of a greater selection of burgers, fries, pizza and other high-calorie food that is full of saturated fat and salt. The Agriculture Secretary defended the guidelines. He said the new rules would reduce food waste. He said the new policy was necessary because, "a more common-sense flexibility is needed to provide students with nutritious and appetizing meals". The guidelines reverse the Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which was championed by Michelle Obama. A health expert said: "This makes absolutely no sense. Politics and industry pressure should not interfere with what is best for children's health."