A group of senators from potatoe-producing states are working to help reverse the "bad rap" that potatoes have received in recent years and to save the school lunch program from banning or severely limiting spuds in the national school lunch program.
Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Mark Udall, D-Colo., have proposed an amendment to the Senate Agriculture Appropriations bill that would protect schools' flexibility in serving healthy fruits and vegetables in the school breakfast and lunch programs, reported ABC News.
New guidelines released in January from the U.S. Department of Agriculture would reduce the use of potatoes, including white potatoes, in school lunches, to a total of one cup per week. The rule would also ban starchy vegetables from the School Breakfast Program completely, starting next year.
The senators amendment would prevent the USDA from moving forward by limiting the options of local school districts, what Collins calls an "arbitrary limitation" on spuds. Collins says that this would amount to discrimination against a vegetable with more potassium than a banana, which is cholesterol free, low and fat and sodium and "can be served in countless healthy ways."
The senators argue against the significant costs that school districts would incur if they couldn't use potatoes, which are cheap when compared to other vegetables, in school meals.