Video: The USDA at work dinner

posted at 11:15 am on May 30, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Old and busted: the USDA food pyramid.  New hotness: the USDA dinner plate.  Hey, is that thing microwave safe?

Wow, what a breakthrough! And if the food pyramid had any relevance to diet selection for Americans, it might even have been worth the two million dollars the USDA spent just to design the logo.  Yes, that’s right, it cost taxpayers $2 million for someone to draw a circle, cut it into four quadrants, and then attach labels like FRUITS and VEGETABLES.  The $2 million didn’t just go into the logo design, though.  According to the New York Times, they spent part of that money doing focus-group testing on circles with two lines, and on a Web site, too — as if millions of people will thunder to it to plan their dinners.

In all of the focus group testing, the USDA apparently never noticed that a circle cut into slices looks an awful lot like the meal planning the USDA was trying to discourage:

Some who have seen the logo compared it with a pie chart, though dessert is hardly the association that the administration would like to conjure up. Others likened it to a pizza cut into slices (equally unpalatable for officials). One person said it called to mind a painting by the artist Mark Rothko, who was known for canvases with blocks of color. Those who had seen it would speak only on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized by the administration to discuss it.

Oh, I don’t know — a pizza typically contains grains, meat, dairy, and veggies — and if you get it Hawaiian style, you can even have fruit.  Instead of calling this the USDA dinner plate, why don’t we just call it Boondoggle Pizza?

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According to some things I’ve seen, there are really only two rules to eating healthy:
1) eat a variety of things
2) avoid hydrogenated oils at all cost. Butter is better for you than margarine. Lard is better for you than shortening.

Count to 10 on May 30, 2011 at 5:21 PM

Hey Meat… I understand what you are saying… but, this battle was lost a long time ago. The government took it upon itself to educate nutrition long before I was even born.

So why don’t we pick battles that can actually be won, instead of re-fighting century old ones.

Get a grip.

petunia on May 30, 2011 at 2:05 PM

…aprapos of nothing (certainly not this thread), this whole “pick the battles you can actually win” meme when faced with any intrusion of the nanny state, whether this one or any other, is one of the best excuses for cowardace and ultimately knuckling under an adjusting your life in the face of petty bureaucratic nanny-ism that you’ll find.

Go ahead, if it suits you.

The government serves the people, remember, on paper, anyway…so, meat and fruit inspection is fine. Does that suppose that these perfumed princes on the Potomac can then hector us about how and when and how much of this inspected provender we eat (or drink or smoke or rub under our armpits if we’ve a mind to) we’re wise to do? In short, does their charge to keep the food safe entitle them to nag us about consuming it? I say that it doesn’t.

However long the Feds have been noodging and needling us, and however used to it we are, doesn’t make that irritating collection of frustrated lunch ladies right. Precedent is no substitute for right.

Puritan1648 on May 30, 2011 at 5:23 PM

Um, the tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and olives are fruits. I’m not sure what the garlic counts as, but the only vegetable that I think I’ve seen on pizza is spinach.

Count to 10 on May 30, 2011 at 5:16 PM

…well, if spinach is a vegetable, so is tobacco…so, the next time you tuck into a pizza, field strip a Marlboro over it, and check that food group off the list….

…now, I’m not saying that you should then roll the damned thing up and light it…that’d be wrong….

Puritan1648 on May 30, 2011 at 5:29 PM

So, uh, where in the constitution is the federal government given the authority to even advise people on what to eat?

Kafir on May 30, 2011 at 6:39 PM

I feel so much better now!

tinkerthinker on May 30, 2011 at 6:55 PM

The food pyramid or dinner plate is a bunch of BS. It had nothing to do with nutrition and everything to do with lobbyists.

mizflame98 on May 30, 2011 at 7:25 PM

That much money and they couldn’t spell the “VEGGIES” part of the pie chart correctly?

What’s with “VEGGES” ???

marybel on May 30, 2011 at 8:16 PM

yet the USDA and our goobermint will continue to subsidize farmers to flood the market with cheap corn.

More high fructose corn syrup, more cheap junk food……

less regulation targeted at encouraging sustainable local farms would do wonders for the nations health.

Unfortunately, Conagra Cargill and ADM own our corrupted Congress.

rickyricardo on May 30, 2011 at 9:50 PM

Oh, I don’t know — a pizza typically contains grains, meat, dairy, and veggies — and if you get it Hawaiian style, you can even have fruit.

And to someone who follows USDA recommendations, it’s considered a healthy meal.

I can’t vouch for vitamins and minerals and such, because I’m fortunately too young to care about that stuff yet. But as someone who has dropped 130 lbs (on purpose), I can tell you the secret to a special rogue diet that the government doesn’t want you to know: exercise as much as you can and stop eating so f—ing much.

HitNRun on May 30, 2011 at 10:33 PM

itsnotaboutme on May 30, 2011 at 12:29 PM

I also like spinach on my turkey burgers…and my turkey tacos. Iceberg lettuce serves no purpose whatsoever.

annoyinglittletwerp on May 30, 2011 at 11:41 PM

‘chelle Obama is a pyramid. Narrow at the top and several axe handles accross the beam.

The pork sistas ‘chelle and oprah actually convinced the IOC olympics that Americans know eating better than sports competition.

seven on May 31, 2011 at 9:08 AM

I think that the reasonthat they chose this as the new logo is because they can use it as part of the Obama campaign logo.

sabbahillel on May 31, 2011 at 9:44 AM

Key West Reader on May 30, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Every time I see you post, I am reminded of my strong temptation to sell everthing off and move to the keys. I just can’t figure out what I’d do for a living there. Maybe charter scuba/snorkel trips or something.

samuelrylander on May 31, 2011 at 9:51 AM

We are dealing with an uneducated world.
When I buy subway, I say I want all the fruits and vegetables. They give me a stupid look. Tomato is a fruit, olives are.
So then they ask if I want jalepeno. I answer, Did I ask for all the vegetables? Do they think jalepenos are dairy?

Yes tomato sauce is the fruit serving in red spaghetti gravy and on pizza. Ketchup and salsa also are fruit laden.

seven on May 31, 2011 at 10:07 AM

Well duh, everything has to have O logo in this administration.

Speechlesstx on May 31, 2011 at 10:22 AM

More high fructose corn syrup, more cheap junk food……

less regulation targeted at encouraging sustainable local farms would do wonders for the nations health.

rickyricardo on May 30, 2011 at 9:50 PM

This is an example of a very stupid comment.

Government regulation of farming is written for and by the large agribusinesses. Subsidies flood the market with cheap corn and and encourage over planting.

Local farms are screwed by the government.

Agribusiness giants love cheap corn and dying small farms who want to engage in sustainable farming.

rickyricardo on May 31, 2011 at 11:47 AM

‘chelle Obama is a pyramid. Narrow at the top and several axe handles accross the beam.

The pork sistas ‘chelle and oprah actually convinced the IOC olympics that Americans know eating better than sports competition.

seven on May 31, 2011 at 9:08 AM

-
The narrow at the top is only possible because her head is empty… Ideology memorization requires no brain at all actually… Any cell in the body can store that info… In Mr’s O’Jaws… it’s in the glutes… /random mean remark otd
-

RalphyBoy on May 31, 2011 at 12:19 PM

NEXT from the USDA:

The food hyperbolic paraboloid!!!

You pick your color, and go anywhere you want with it!!!

landlines on May 31, 2011 at 12:51 PM

This is an example of a very stupid comment.

blink on May 31, 2011 at 9:31 AM

Yes, it is. Now how about you make one that isn’t stupid?

Uncle Sams Nephew on May 31, 2011 at 1:11 PM

Comment pages: 1 2