Those of us who were surprised when Congress decided that pizza was a vegetable in 2011 should’ve seen it coming. After all, the U.S. government has been making botanically incorrect rulings since 1893, when the Supreme Court ruled that tomatoes were classified as a vegetable under U.S. tariff law. The tomato is the ovary (and contains the seeds) of a flowering plant, meaning that it fits the botanical and scientific definition of a fruit. This didn’t matter much to Supreme Court Justice Gray, who presided over the case and decided that the tomato’s lower sugar content and use in vegetable-based dishes meant that (at least for taxation purposes) tomatoes were a vegetable.
We’ll admit that we find all the tomato-based controversy a little hilarious — just imagining a bunch of dudes in white wigs and black robes deliberating over a garden vegetable is enough to make our day — but it’s a relief to know that as far as the United States legal system is concerned, dietary customs trump scientific classification every time.
The Foodbeast tomato ruling is pretty heavily influenced by journalist Miles Kington, who once said “Knowledge is knowing the tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in your fruit salad.” Wise words we can all agree on. Case closed.