US government pushes pizza to help the cheese industry

The US Department of Agriculture ( USDA ) recently released a report on the function of pizza in american diets. Researcher Donna Rhodes and colleagues in USDA ’ s agricultural research department found that an astonishing 13 % of the US population consumed pizza on any given day, based on the most holocene years of the ongoing National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey .
For this large population – more than one in eight Americans – who consumed pizza in a particular day, the researchers found :

  • Pizza accounted for 25% of children’s and 29% of adults’ daily food energy intake. More than a quarter of all calorie intake was pizza.
  • Pizza accounted for 33% of children’s and 39% of adults’ daily saturated fat intake. Compared with foods in general, pizza is much heavier in saturated fat.
  • Pizza accounted for 33% of children’s and 38% of adults’ sodium intake. Compared with foods in general, pizza is much heavier in sodium.

But in recent years, the USDA ’ s dairy checkoff program has spent many millions of dollars increasing pizza consumption among US children and adults .
A checkoff program is a semi-governmental program that helps producers market an agricultural product. Using the federal government ’ south taxation powers, the checkoff broadcast collects a mandate judgment ( equivalent to a tax ) of 15 cents on every hundredweight of milk that producers sell for use as fluid milk or dairy products. The money is then used to support commercialize and promotion activities that encourage dairy pulmonary tuberculosis.

According to the most holocene annual USDA report to congress, the sum mandatary judgment in 2011 was US $ 104m for fluid milk and US $ 98m for early dairy products .
These expenditures are many times greater than union spend on promoting fruits and vegetables, wholly grains, or any of the other foods that the politics ’ s dietary guidelines recommend increasing consumption of .
Each semi-governmental checkoff program is managed by a board of producers appointed by the secretary of agriculture, and all expenditures are approved by USDA ’ s Agricultural Marketing Service ( AMS ). much of the actual activity is carried out by Dairy Management Inc ( DMI ), a dairy diligence constitution .
The checkoff program finish is to provide increase economic necessitate for dairy producers. The USDA report besides found the economic return to producers is greater for cheese selling efforts than for fluid milk selling efforts. The composition concluded :

  • For every US$1 the checkoff program spends on increasing demand for fluid milk, farmers get US$3.95 in increased revenue.
  • For every US$1 the checkoff program spends on increasing demand for cheese, farmers get US$4.43 in increased revenue.

That differential bribe is unsurprising. During the late years of checkoff program mathematical process, the USDA report charted the keep up vogue in fluid milk consumption .

interim, the report charted the postdate tendency in cheese consumption.


Pizza accounts for a boastfully fraction of the increased cheese consumption, so the report emphasised the value for producers of partnering with fast-food restaurant chains, particularly Domino ’ s Pizza. It said :

On average, expenditures on commercialize and tall mallow promotion were US $ 12m during the menstruation. Owing to partnerships with the pizza industry, notably Domino ’ south Pizza, expenditures on cheese increased from the one-fourth quarter of 2008 to the end of 2011 .
DMI spend over US $ 35m over three years in partnership activities with Domino ’ second. The Domino ’ second relationship accounted for about three-quarters of DMI ’ s overall promotion expenditures in the cheese category over the 2009 to 2011 menstruation .

And according to the report to congress, Patrick Doyle, president and CEO of Domino ’ mho Pizza, explained why the support from the federal government ’ s dairy checkoff program was so beneficial to the ship’s company :

DMI corroborate has allowed us to focus some advertise dollars on areas we would not have considered otherwise. The Wisconsin 6 Cheese pizza has doubly the cheese of a regular pizza, but we had neither developed nor advertised such a product. DMI helped fund the research and media to launch this intersection .

The report to congress argued that the USDA-supported dairy checkoff program ’ s pizza partnerships increased cheese pulmonary tuberculosis .

The promotional activities with Domino ’ sulfur included new product lines, use of more tall mallow than had been provided on similar items in the Domino ’ south range before the partnership, and the introduction of specialization cheeses into the company ’ south recipes. In short, the aid of dairy dollars was implemental in positively affecting the pizza category, a class that is very authoritative to the dairy diligence.

Read more: Who Invented Pizza?

Every dairy checkoff partnership must be approved by USDA. Every marketing message has official legal stand as “ government language ” ( because, otherwise, courts would see the mandatary assessment as a misapply of the federal government ’ south tax powers ). The checkoff partnerships sabotage USDA ’ s standing as a credible voice in promoting dietary steering for Americans, and they must be a awful embarrassment for the many people at USDA who seek to promote healthy eat .
many Americans find pizza to be an enjoyable cover, but, from a nutritional perspective, it is a dreadful choice of major food staple. It is apprehensible that food companies may promote pizza with their own money, but it is a parody that the federal government should contribute so heavily to this feat, while neglecting other important nutrition goals .
A adaptation of this article first appeared on Parke Wilde ’ s US Food Policy web log .