Get That Spud Out of Here!

Potatoes are disliked by the USDA

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Potatoes are hearty vegetables that most people don't even recognize as vegetables. Now USDA wants to ban them from school cafeterias in attempt to make lunches healthier.

Think back to when you were a child and how many vegetables you actually enjoyed eating...probably not very many, but potatoes were probably one of them. French fries are made out of potatoes and almost all children love fries, so why is the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) trying to ban them now?

"USDA proposes to ban "white potato" for health reasons"

USDA is proposing to eliminate “white potatoes” from federally subsidized schools during breakfast and to limit them during lunch time. USDA hopes by getting rid of the “white potato” from schools then healthier, more nutrient rich vegetables can be introduced.

Potato industries, school cafeteria directors, and legislators from potato-growing regions are outraged by the assumption that potatoes are less nutritious than other non-starchy vegetables.

Senator Susan Collins voices out by exclaiming a “medium potato contains nearly twice the amount of vitamin C as a head of lettuce”.

The National Potato Council in Washington is urging potato lovers and industries to get together and join “Tell USDA to Keep Potatoes in Schools”. National Potato Council claims potatoes are the “gateway” vegetables for other vegetables like broccoli and spinach.

The USDA is attempting to put the ban on potatoes in effect by the 2012-2013 school year.

Heidi Kessler, a school nutrition project manager, tries to explain the dilemma that potato-haters pose. Potatoes are nutritious, but the methods of preparation can negate the benefits, so instead Kessler encourages eliminating fries or serving them once a week.

Fries are one of the most popular items in cafeterias. Will eliminating them cause children to turn to some other unhealthy food? The USDA should propose healthier options for preparations methods of potatoes rather than getting rid of them completely.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 17, 2011
Last Updated:
May 23, 2011