Group fights for potatoes in school meals

04/11/2011 11:04:07 AM
Tom Karst

As a public comment period on a school nutrition proposal comes to a close, the National Potato Council has launched a website targeting school foodservice officials about including potatoes in school meals.

The site, www.potatoesinschools.com, asks for support in reversing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s decision to limit total servings of potatoes and other starchy foods in the regulations for school breakfast and lunch programs.

“This proposal could have adverse effects on our children’s health and on the state of school meal plans,” according to the website.

The site has links to potato nutrition facts and stresses their popularity among children and affordability for school foodservice operations. The site also offers suggested messages to USDA to “keep potatoes in schools.”

In an e-mail to the industry, Tim O’Connor, president of the Denver, Colo.-based U.S. Potato Board, said the board worked closely with the Washington, D.C.-based potato council to provide research to document and support potatoes’ positive nutrition profile.

“By combining the strength of the Public Relations, Research and Nutrition teams from the USPB and Foodminds (NPC’s Nutrition Policy Consultants), NPC has developed strong and compelling messages and materials to effectively represent potatoes in this debate,” O’Connor said.

The USDA is taking comments until April 13 on the proposed changes to proposed rule for school lunch and breakfast programs that, among other changes, limits total servings of some vegetables (potatoes, corn, green peas, and lima beans) to one cup per week and eliminates these vegetables entirely from breakfast.



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