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.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans
The 2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans must recognize what we all know: potatoes are a vegetable.
As the 2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) process has begun, the Administration posed a question to the Advisory Committee whether potatoes should be a vegetable or a grain. The Committee must reflect the overwhelming science-based determination that potatoes are a vegetable and consumption should be encouraged as they are nutritionally valuable, flexible and low cost.
The National Potato Council recognizes that certain activist voices will be extremely loud during this process and intend to place burdens on potatoes and/or attempt to reclassify America’s favorite vegetable into another category entirely (grains). Such efforts have no basis in science, raise costs for consumers, and further burden already-expensive federal nutrition programs with huge new costs. Those costly, misleading and unscientific efforts should be rejected by the DGAs and all federal policymakers outright.
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.
School Breakfast Access for White Potatoes
Congress must continue to allow equal access for potatoes in federal school meals regulations through the appropriations process.
For seven years, a bipartisan provision has been included in every fiscal year’s enacted Agriculture Appropriations Bill that prevents USDA from enforcing limitations on potatoes in accessing the school breakfast program. While the regulations are being reconsidered, they still propose to limit potatoes in support of other vegetables and do not reflect current science.
Congress has appropriately stepped in and prevented the regulations from being enforced, as they raise costs on the federal government and burden individual school districts in their daily attempts to comply with overly-complicated mandates for school meals. Potatoes should be an option for those school meals professionals in constructing school breakfasts that kids will consume.
This appropriations provision must continue to be maintained and/or updated as school meals regulations evolve.
Proposed USDA School Meal Rule
The Administration should eliminate provisions in the School Meals Proposed Rule that classify potatoes differently than other vegetables.
In February 2023, USDA released a proposed rule to update federal school meals regulations. This proposed rule does allow greater access for potatoes than the prior overt limitations but continues to restrict potatoes from being served all five days of the week.
The proposed rule continues to classify potatoes (via the “starchy vegetable” category) as materially different than other vegetables. Due to this inaccurate difference, the proposed rule provides unrestricted access for other vegetables five days a week, but limits the access for potatoes to only four.
There is no nutrition science to support this limitation and the reference data that USDA utilizes as justification is nearly a decade old.
The National Potato Council strongly urges that potatoes be considered as equivalent with other vegetables. Additionally, we encourage Congress to maintain and enhance the Appropriations provision to ensure that current AND future regulations do not constrain potato access to the school meals programs.
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.