The US Congress and the Department of Agriculture have collectively agreed that pepper spray, an inflammatory agent commonly used in riot control and personal self-defense, is now publicly recognized as a member of the vegetable food group.

With this declaration, pepper spray now joins the ranks of carrots, arugula, chickpeas, and broccoli as an official FDA-approved vegetable.

Pepper spray’s popularity saw an unprecedented spike since the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations began in New York City’s Zuccotti Park in September. These mostly peaceful protests sparked a wider “Occupy’ movement that has had demonstrators globally consuming more pepper spray than ever before in part due to the help of riot control officers.

For example, a video of passive students at UC Davis went viral yesterday, in which protestors are depicted absorbing mass quantities of pepper spray as a campus police officer casually showers them with the chemical compound as though he were Lysoling his bathroom after a trip to Krispy Kreme.

“We are super excited to have pepper spray join the vegetable family,” said UC Davis chief of police Gordon Toothrot. “Now, when we’re violently breaking up these peaceful protests with brutal, unnecessary force, we’re also providing people with a vital aspect of their daily nutrition.”

Toothrot elaborated stating that since the announcement, using pepper spray has become a force of habit within his role as a law enforcer. “I don’t even talk to regular citizens anymore. What’s the point? Why take all the effort to engage in conversation or compromise when I can just provide them with swift, peppery justice right off the bat?”

“When I pull people over for minor traffic violations, I don’t even ask for license and registration anymore. I just pepper spray them and hand them a ticket. It’s much easier and decreases my risk of injury,” Toothrot concluded.

In other news, the UC Davis police department is in talks with Congress about also adding tasers, tear gas, mace, nightsticks, and guns to the ever-growing list of FDA-approved vegetables.

Update 11/22/11: Check out some hilarious responses to this article here.

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