American farmers producing white potatoes get good news

Dec 11, 2014

White spuds eligible for Women, Infants and Children program

By Diego Flammini,

Potato farmers in the USA could see desire in their crop increase with news of the white potato being placed on the list of foods that are part of the Women, Infants and Children program.

Until the addition of white potatoes to the program, which “provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk,” they were excluded - not because of their nutritional value, but because one of the more common ways of preparing them is by frying them in oil.

Those who are pro-potato see a variety of benefits including economical and nutritional.

“Potatoes are cholesterol-free, fat-free and sodium-free, and can be prepared in countless healthy ways,” said Maine Sen. Susan Collins in a statement. She also said the potatoes are inexpensive enough to allow mothers to stretch their dollars.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack opposed the idea and is looking to the Institute of Medicine to more frequently review if the exclusion of white potatoes is still supported.

In 2011, Congress voted against the Agriculture Department’s decision to only allow two servings per week of potatoes and other starches in federally subsidised schools during lunch.

In 2009, the United States exported $180 million in potatoes and potato products.

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