Potatoes are nutrition powerhouses, offering both affordability and flexibility as America’s favorite vegetable. NPC helps ensure that potatoes are recognized by policymakers for their health benefits to families and children. NPC works with government officials to ensure that federal dietary recommendations for feeding and nutrition programs and that the Dietary Guidelines acknowledge the unique contributions of potatoes.
Government Purchases for Feeding Programs
In 2020, NPC and state organizations worked with Congress and the administration to move oversupplies of potatoes and potato products to food banks, charitable organizations and other needy recipients. In May 2020, USDA announced $50 million in surplus potato purchases, which was largest of all the COVID-related specialty crop purchases and the largest surplus potato purchase in history. This action served two purposes in providing nutritious products to food insecure communities and allowing family farms to weather the global crisis with more confidence.
School Breakfast Access for White Potatoes
In the FY19 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, a bipartisan amendment was included that prohibited USDA from placing limits on potatoes in the school breakfast program. Prior to this amendment’s adoption, USDA required a substantial amount of “underserved” vegetables to be provided to schoolchildren before potatoes could be offered. These regulations were not in keeping with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, broader nutrition science, or the wishes of school food service professionals across the country.
NPC requests that the House and Senate Appropriations Committees maintain this bipartisan provision in the FY22 Agriculture Appropriations Bill and/or any full or partial year spending bill that reaches the President’s desk.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Every five years USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services jointly issue the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), updating the Federal Government’s nutrition policy for healthy Americans. These guidelines set the foundation for nutrition policies for the federal government and inform numerous public statements.
In December 2020, the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services released the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommends the increased consumption of vegetables for all age groups. The National Potato Council welcomed the recommendations, which supports the importance of including nutrient-rich vegetables, including potatoes, in all diets.
Potatoes are a good source of potassium, providing 15% of the daily value per serving in addition to being an excellent source of vitamin C, providing 30% of the daily value per serving. For more information about the nutritional benefits of potatoes, visit Nutritional Value.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
The Farm Bill, which deals with agriculture policy issues as well as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), was renewed most recently in December 2018. NPC continues to participate in the SNAP coalition and promote to members of Congress and the administration the benefits of all potato products being a part of SNAP. At the same time, we are monitoring federal rulemaking that may seek to amend the definition of “healthy” and inform consumers about products meeting that definition.