Save the spud!

The USDA would like to eliminate the white potato -- any variety but the sweet potato --from federally subsidized school breakfasts and to limit them sharply at lunch, reports the Wall Street Journal.


A push to make school meals "healthier," the proposed change would serve more nutrient-rich vegetables and fewer French fries.Under the USDA proposal, school cafeterias would have to limit starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, peas and lima beans to a total of one cup per week for lunch. Excuse me, but there are many cooking oils out there that make healthier french fries - how about using those? And there are many ways to prepare potatoes other than frying them.


Banning potatoes doesn't sit well with school cafeteria directors and legislators from potato-growing regions, who are fighting to make certain that in schools, no potato is left behind.In fact, the potato industry is promoting potatoes as a "true gateway vegetable" that could lead kids to broccoli.


At a March Senate hearing on the USDA budget, Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) hoisted a standard-fare brown-skinned spud in one hand and, in the other, a head of iceberg lettuce, which hasn't come under explicit federal scrutiny. One medium white potato contains nearly twice the vitamin C "as this entire head," she said, asking: "So my question, Mr. Secretary, is what does the department have against potatoes?"The white potato was the only veggie excluded, a slight that so infuriated the head of the Washington State Potato Commission that he went on a 60-day, all-potato diet to illustrate that the spud is a wholesome food.