Department of Agriculture Moves to Ban White Potatoes

Posted: May 18, 2011 11:29 AM
Food fight! This time, the US Department of Agriculture is proposing a ban on white potatoes (any kind except the sweet potato) in school meals. Under the USDA proposal, schools would be required to limit servings of starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn, peas, etc.) to one cup per week.

One school district that will be affected is in Gooding, Idaho. The school, a previous recipient of USDA award for providing healthy meals, will no longer be able to offer it's 'potato bar', in which they serve potatoes with beans and other vegetables.

Susan Collins, a Republican Senator from Maine brought a potato and a head of lettuce to a USDA budget hearing to make her point:

One medium white potato contains nearly twice the vitamin C "as this entire head," she said, asking: "So my question, Mr. Secretary, is what does the department have against potatoes?"

Sen. Collins makes a good point: potatoes may contain a lot of carbohydrates, but guess what? They also have a lot more nutrients than celery. They are also served frequently with green vegetables. The National Potato Council even refers to them as a "gateway vegetable" which "could lead kids to broccoli". In attempting to outlaw a potentially fattening food, the Department of Agriculture is banning something healthy that kids willingly eat.

Flashback: USDA was in favor of potatoes before they were against them: