USDA proposal to limit potatoes in schools launches food fight

USDA proposal to limit potatoes in schools launches food fight

USDA proposal to limit potatoes in schools launches food fight

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by KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on October 18, 2011 at 11:23 AM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 10:44 AM

You say potato, the USDA says "starchy vegetable."

The USDA wants to limit how many starchy vegetables, including potatoes, are served in schools as part of the federal school lunch program, reports the USA Today.

But a bipartisan group of senators from potato-producing states, such as Idaho, Colorado and Maine, say the USDA proposal is mush and plan to block it Monday with an amendment to the 2012 agrigriculture spending bill.

"The much-maligned potato is actually a very affordable, nutritious vegetable," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. "The issue is really in the preparation."

For Collins, Udall and other lawmakers from potato-producing states, potatoes are a big cash crop, generating tens of millions of dollars.

USDA undersecretary for nutrition programs Kevin Concannon says limiting starchy vegetables is just one effort to limit the caloric intake of schoolchildren.

According to USDA statistics, most of the 31 million schoolchildren served through the school lunch program are offered about two servings of potatoes per week. That would be the limit of starchy vegetables under the new standards.
 

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