The US Department of Agriculture has relaxed regulatory standards for pizza ingredients, saying that consumers’ expectations of pizza products were much wider than previously thought.

"(USDA) has determined that the standards for pizza with meat may be inhibiting manufacturers from producing and marketing styles of pizzas that today's consumers demand," the department was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Under the new regulations, “pizza with meat” only has to contain 2% cooked meat or 3% raw meat, compared to previous standards of 12% cooked meat or 15% raw meat.

Pizza products will no longer have to contain tomato sauce, cheese and a bread-based crust, as previous standards required.