Pizza Time

What You Need to Know About Washington’s Powerful, Vastly Influential Pizza Lobby

Protect the slice.
Protect the slice. Photo: Tom Benedek/the food passionates/Corbis

How did America get to the point that it’s possible to order pizza from a car, or from a watch? You can thank Washington, D.C.’s all-powerful “pizza lobby.” There’s a big Bloomberg feature spotlighting this exact topic, and how the pizza lobbyists are working to fight nutrition rules and menu-labeling laws. Here are the most fascinating takeaways:

• Domino’s, Papa John’s, Little Caesars, and more pizzerias have banded together to form the American Pizza Community, representing about 20,000 establishments. Members “schmooze” congressmen, like any other lobbyists.

• The pizza lobby’s mortal enemy is the national-labeling law, because no customer wants to know how many calories he or she is actually consuming. The FDA initially proposed that pizzerias post calories for not just a slice, but the entire pie. It has since backed down on that stipulation.

• The American Pizza Community’s alternative menu-labeling regulation is called the “Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act.” Because it’s common sense that pizza is unhealthy! Duh!

• 88 percent of pizza companies’ political contributions go to Republicans. That accounts for about $1.3 million, or 88 percent of $1.5 million in total politician contributions.

• Out of all the Republican candidates, Mitt Romney received the most money from pizza-industry contributions: $110,807. He has schmoozed with the Papa John’s founder, after all.

• Roughly 41 million Americans eat a slice of pizza daily.

• The frozen-pizza lobby is its own separate beast, and it has beef with the fresh-pizza lobby. Drama!

• The aforementioned frozen-pizza lobby tries really, really hard to make tomato paste count as a vegetable serving, so that it can be served during school lunches. The Department of Agriculture is not feeling this loophole. Get ready for tomato pie, kiddos.


What You Need to Know About Washington’s Powerful, Vastly Influential