Student slams Klobuchar for trying to classify pizza sauce as vegetable
© Greg Nash

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharBiden lead shrinks, Sanders and Warren close gap: poll Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers | Big tech defends efforts against online extremism | Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser | Omar urges Twitter to take action against Trump tweet Media and candidates should be ashamed that they don't talk about obesity MORE (D-Minn.) on Monday was questioned about her previous stance attempting to classify pizza sauce as a vegetable in school lunches.

During the 2020 presidential candidate's town hall on CNN, a Harvard University student asked the Minnesota senator about a 2010 letter she sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) petitioning for tomato sauce on frozen pizzas to count as a vegetable after a new rule no longer counted it as such.

Klobuchar defended the request as an attempt to help Minnesota during a down economy.

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"We were in the middle of the downturn, and it was a little more, I would say, complex in terms of the language, but it’s a fair criticism,” Klobuchar said. “So, I said I regretted sending that letter. It was about trying to keep a company afloat in a really small town that employed a bunch of people.”

She added that she made clear before she decided to run for president that the decision was "a mistake” and that “nutrition is paramount for this country.”

"I didn’t think that — frozen pizza with tomato sauce on it, I do not believe should be counted as a vegetable, let me make that clear,” Klobuchar said after being pressed by CNN host Chris CuomoChristopher (Chris) Charles CuomoSuper PAC head spars with CNN's Cuomo over Ocasio-Cortez ad Nadler: Impeachment inquiry a 'made-up term' but it's essentially 'what we are doing' CNN climate town hall finishes last in viewers among cable news broadcasts MORE.

The pizza sauce controversy stems from new school lunch standards the USDA proposed in 2011. The standards would have no longer counted tomato sauce as a vegetable. Klobuchar objected to the move due to the fact that Schwan Food Co., a major supplier of frozen pizzas for school lunches, is based in Marshall, Minn.

Congress ultimately passed a bill that did away with the proposed USDA guidelines that would have changed how tomato sauce is classified.

Klobuchar added during her town hall that “we need to have healthier foods in kids' lunches; we need to have healthier foods available to people no matter how much money they have.”