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16 June, 2004

In other US legal news...

... the definition of 'fresh vegetables' has been modified to include chips (US: fries).  A 2003 ruling by the US Department of Agriculture has been reaffirmed following a legal challenge to it in Texas.

The USDA argues that the process of coating or battering a vegetable does not change the end product; rather than being a processed food, chips are still fresh.

From the Guardian:

"While plaintiff argued that batter-coated french fries are processed products, they have not been 'processed' to the point that they are no longer fresh," the agriculture department's lawyers argued. "It is still considered 'fresh' because it is not preserved. It retains its perishable quality."

This... interesting logic even extends to frozen chips. Evidently the USDA doesn't regard freezing as a mechanism of food preservation.
Never mind 'fresh', I'd question whether frozen chips are 'vegetables', and would have doubts that they entirely fit the definition of 'food'.

This change coincides (and it must be coincidence, right?) with the fact that the french fries industry reported a decline in consumption of 2.4% over the five years to 2001.

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