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Gingersnap
10-22-2010, 10:23 AM
Ag Secretary Defends Dropping Potatoes From Federal Food Program for Low-Income Mothers

Thursday, October 21, 2010
By Dan Joseph

(CNSNews.com) – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says there is nothing wrong with eating potatoes in moderation, even though the federal Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program – one of the largest federal food assistance programs – is now finalizing an interim rule that bars participants from buying potatoes with their federal dollars.

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture also is limiting potatoes in the federal School Lunch Program.

When CNSNews.com posed the question -- "Is there anything wrong with eating potatoes in moderation?" -- Thursday to Vilsack at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., he responded, "No," but then quipped to the room full of reporters, “Potatoes are a source of ethanol, I'm sure.” Vilsack had been speaking on the issue of biofuels production.

“The quick answer to this is that studies have shown that WIC participants are already purchasing potatoes in sufficient quantities. There’s no need to encourage purchasing of potatoes because they’re already purchasing sufficient quantities. That’s why it’s not in the supply,” Vilsack added.

The WIC program, which is operated by Vilsack’s USDA in conjunction with state agencies, has drawn fire for including “fresh fruits and vegetables” but not white potatoes in food packages given to low-income mothers – and it won’t allow federal vouchers to be spent on potatoes.

The exclusion of potatoes stems from a reccomendation in a report from the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine. The recommendation was “made to encourage consumption of other fruits and vegetables," according to Christine Stencel, a spokeswoman for the Institute of Medicine.

Stencel told CNSNews.com that the IOM was charged with bringing WIC packages in line with the latest dietary guidelines, which "all kind of say that we need to encourage greater varieties of fruit and vegetable consumption in this country."

"White Potatoes are pretty widely consumed in America, so WIC participants are getting the benefits, the nutritional benefits that are in white potatoes," Stencel said. "The recommendation about not using the WIC packages to purchase white potatoes is mainly to promote the purchase and consumption of a greater variety of fruits and vegetables.

"The research shows that we Americans are generally consuming too few of those dark green leafy vegetables -- orange, yellow, red ones, et cetera. So that’s the main reason. It’s not saying that potatoes don’t have their own nutritional value, it’s just people are getting those benefits already.”

(snip)

Even with the new explanation from Vilsack, Potato growers and their advocates do not see a good reason for singling out potatoes for exclusion from government food programs.

“I’m sure that they’re also buying apples, bananas and lettuce, said Voight “They’ve got to be buying other produce items and yet they’re only excluding potatoes? That seems very discriminatory.”

I kind of doubt that WIC recipients will replace potatoes with curly kale, butternut squash, or bok choy.

CNS (http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/vilsack-says-sufficient-quantities-are-r)

Arroyo_Doble
10-22-2010, 10:29 AM
The potato is the greatest thing ever made. I love the potato ... breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

marv
10-22-2010, 10:56 AM
Hmmmm, now the administration has declared war on Idaho!

Gingersnap
10-22-2010, 10:57 AM
The potato is the greatest thing ever made. I love the potato ... breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

I wouldn't say that I'm "in love" with potatoes but they are an easy raw vegetable for inexperienced/disinterested cooks to prepare. The emphasis that is being put on fruit is probably overblown. Sugar is sugar whether it comes from an apple or candy bar. Likewise, starch is starch whether it's in potato-format or banana-format.

If government food programs start eliminating "bad" raw foods, I don't think people will switch to "good" raw foods, I think they will just eat more of what few likable things are left.

Bailey
10-22-2010, 11:03 AM
I wouldn't say that I'm "in love" with potatoes but they are an easy raw vegetable for inexperienced/disinterested cooks to prepare. The emphasis that is being put on fruit is probably overblown. Sugar is sugar whether it comes from an apple or candy bar. Likewise, starch is starch whether it's in potato-format or banana-format.

If government food programs start eliminating "bad" raw foods, I don't think people will switch to "good" raw foods, I think they will just eat more of what few likable things are left.

He's in love with them alright and everything thing that entails.

FlaGator
10-22-2010, 11:10 AM
Finally the evil potato is getting its come-uppence! After how they embarrassed Dan Quayle when he was Vice President I would say it is about time. I for one am happy to see the Obama administration declare war on this insidious beast. Now is the time to join in unison behind the true ruler of the vegetable garden, the acorn squash!

FlaGator
10-22-2010, 11:12 AM
I wouldn't say that I'm "in love" with potatoes but they are an easy raw vegetable for inexperienced/disinterested cooks to prepare. The emphasis that is being put on fruit is probably overblown. Sugar is sugar whether it comes from an apple or candy bar. Likewise, starch is starch whether it's in potato-format or banana-format.

If government food programs start eliminating "bad" raw foods, I don't think people will switch to "good" raw foods, I think they will just eat more of what few likable things are left.

I have a potato button on my microwave. Toss in from 1 to 4 potatoes, press the potato button and when the bell rings you have properly cooked baked potatoes. What could be easier!

noonwitch
10-22-2010, 11:13 AM
I wouldn't say that I'm "in love" with potatoes but they are an easy raw vegetable for inexperienced/disinterested cooks to prepare. The emphasis that is being put on fruit is probably overblown. Sugar is sugar whether it comes from an apple or candy bar. Likewise, starch is starch whether it's in potato-format or banana-format.

If government food programs start eliminating "bad" raw foods, I don't think people will switch to "good" raw foods, I think they will just eat more of what few likable things are left.



Considering WIC will pay for highly-sugared breakfast cereal for children, I find this to be silly.

FlaGator
10-22-2010, 11:43 AM
Considering WIC will pay for highly-sugared breakfast cereal for children, I find this to be silly.

But that is only in order to push for more variety among breakfast cereals.

Their argument really sounds stupid when you put it in the sugary cereal context.

lacarnut
10-22-2010, 12:11 PM
The government should cut the WIC program in half. Paying for 6 and 7 bastard kids is idiotic. Max. should be two. Same holds true for someone with a salary over $40k. This program just breeds more welfare babies.

noonwitch
10-22-2010, 01:15 PM
The government should cut the WIC program in half. Paying for 6 and 7 bastard kids is idiotic. Max. should be two. Same holds true for someone with a salary over $40k. This program just breeds more welfare babies.


In Detroit, the USDA surplus food program is run by a private agency (Focus Hope). If someone has children under the age of 5, they have to choose either WIC or government cheese. Most people choose WIC.

I support doing away with the WIC program and replacing it with a slightly expanded USDA program. Small counties get more food through that program than they can give away, and are constantly expanding their eligibility criteria. Focus Hope has a high demand, so they have to limit their eligibility to people with kids under 5 or seniors. The USDA gives away staple food-cheese, butter, flour, macaroni noodles, eggs, honey, etc., which is the kind of stuff that gets people by on the last days before pay day. FH also gives away recipes and sometimes has cooking lessons on the days they distribute the food.

AmPat
10-22-2010, 01:20 PM
I'm in favor of getting rid of all gov't food programs. What business is it of the federal gov't to be in the grocery business? What article of the Constitution is this under?

I say cut the programs and let those "evil" Churches take over the welfare cases.

Gingersnap
10-22-2010, 01:42 PM
In Detroit, the USDA surplus food program is run by a private agency (Focus Hope). If someone has children under the age of 5, they have to choose either WIC or government cheese. Most people choose WIC.

I support doing away with the WIC program and replacing it with a slightly expanded USDA program. Small counties get more food through that program than they can give away, and are constantly expanding their eligibility criteria. Focus Hope has a high demand, so they have to limit their eligibility to people with kids under 5 or seniors. The USDA gives away staple food-cheese, butter, flour, macaroni noodles, eggs, honey, etc., which is the kind of stuff that gets people by on the last days before pay day. FH also gives away recipes and sometimes has cooking lessons on the days they distribute the food.

That sounds reasonable.

lacarnut
10-22-2010, 01:44 PM
I'm in favor of getting rid of all gov't food programs. What business is it of the federal gov't to be in the grocery business? What article of the Constitution is this under?

I say cut the programs and let those "evil" Churches take over the welfare cases.

Sounds good to me. I contribute to the B.R. food bank each month.