NPC: Serve More Potatoes to Reduce Food Loss

Calls for USDA to remove arbitrary limits on servings of potatoes in the School Breakfast Program

The National Potato Council today submitted feedback to EPA, USDA, and FDA in response to the “Draft National Strategy for Reducing Food Loss and Waste and Recycling Organics,” which was announced in December. The stated goal of the Draft National Strategy is to “prevent the loss and waste of food and increase recycling of organic materials, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save households and businesses money, and build cleaner communities.”

Noting the role that America’s favorite vegetable already plays in helping reduce food waste, particularly among school-aged children, NPC cited research proving that potatoes are a “springboard vegetable” – meaning they are easily paired with other less-consumed vegetables and help increase the consumption of more vegetables. A new study shows that “school-aged children waste less vegetables overall when vegetables (E.g., peas and carrots) are paired with well-liked vegetables like potatoes,” wrote NPC. “This new study, as well as previous studies, shows that potatoes are valuable components within the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and the National School Lunch Program (NLSP) in helping to introduce children to other types of vegetables and reducing plate waste.”

Considering the objectives of the Draft National Strategy to reduce food waste and USDA’s goal of increasing the consumption of vegetables among children, NPC requested that USDA alter its proposed school meal regulations that would place arbitrary limits on servings of potatoes and “permit any vegetable to substitute for fruit within the School Breakfast Program without limitation.”

Read the full comments here.