Fries were considered Fresh vegetables?

Cecil, my curiosity is piqued (again) and this time I won’t ignore it. Back in 2004, you revealed the history of the Reagan administration’s “Ketchup is vegetables” scandal. I’ve seen that article in your ‘from the archives’ reprints on the Straight Dope splash page twice now. At the end of that article, you tease…

“A reprise of the ketchup fiasco loomed recently when a federal judge approved new USDA regs classifying batter-coated french fries as a fresh vegetable. Another attempt by the GOP to feed junk food to the playground set? Actually, it had more to do with creditor priority during bankruptcy settlements, believe it or not — but please, don’t ask me to explain more than one bit of bureaucratic arcana at a time.”

Okay, so it’s a dozen years later and I’ve done a few key-word searches to see if there was more explanation, but found nothing. Did I just miss it, or can you please unearth that arcana now?

Is pizza still considered to be a vegetable?

The article.
A funny bit:
** In mid-1981, only a few months after Reagan took office, Congress cut $1 billion from child-nutrition funding**
Morning in America !

Well, if the tax was on processed foods, the fries are uncooked untouched fresh vegetable. You might parallel it to battered fish or bags of salad. Also, the purpose of the act is not to tell nutritionists where to put the ready to eat item in their categories… its for the purpose of food safety, labelling requirements, or for tax, or something like that.

With the Australian GST, the guideline for GST exempt food was "fresh, or with the minimum factory preparation ". So battered fish fillets and similar remained GST free. Liquid yoghurt is GST free, but frozen yoghurt because it had an extra step of preparation, the freezing, and perhaps it is specifically a type of sweets style desert and not an ingredient of other recipes, attracted GST.