Consumers, Fresh/ Table, Health/Nutrition/Food Safety, Most viewed stories, North America

‘To veg or not to veg’: The controversy over the vegetable status of potatoes in U.S. nutrition policy guidelines

Botanists count potatoes as a vegetable. But should Americans? The U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has sparked the question, setting the table for a round of spud-sparring among scientists, potato growers, potato lovers and parents, writes Kristina Peterson in a news story published recently in the Wall Street Journal.

White potatoes, which come in various colors, are classified as “starchy vegetables.” But the committee could uproot potatoes from the vegetable bin and toss them in with a broader category of rice, other grains and carbohydrates as the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services weigh updates to national diet guidelines for 2025.

The scientific debate isn’t easy to follow. But it sounds like a half-baked idea to Kam Quarles, chief executive of the National Potato Council. 

The dietary guidelines shape nutrition advice to Americans, as well as what foods are served in school cafeterias. Potatoes, according to Quarles, should be respected as a gateway vegetable. “Kids are far more likely to eat” dishes with other vegetables if potatoes are involved, he said. 

The potato industry is worried any reshuffling could mean potatoes end up labeled as something other than a vegetable, simply because some people choose fries instead of rice.

Source: Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Read the full story here (click through the firewall notification popup and the story should show). Excerpt published here with permission.
Photo: Credit Paul Frangipane/Bloomberg News via WSJ
Related: Not Fully Baked? Vegetable Status for Potatoes in Jeopardy. An article by Kam Quarles published on Growing Produce.

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