Letter: USDA misguided on potatoes

March 22, 2014 

A healthy diet includes a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Logic would say a vegetable that has more potassium than a banana, 45 percent of the daily value of vitamin C, includes fiber, has no fat or cholesterol and is low sodium would be part of a healthy diet. Yet logic simply doesn't apply when it comes to U.S. Department of Agriculture's recent exclusion of fresh white potatoes from the federally funded Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food assistance program.

Not only did USDA exclude one of the most nutritious vegetables you can add to your diet, USDA ignored the latest nutritional science and consumption data in its rule making. USDA's own 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans calls for Americans to eat more starchy vegetables, including white potatoes.

Research also shows that meals that contain potatoes contain more servings of other vegetables according to data from the April 2011 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

In spite of science, USDA has excluded affordable, nutritionally rich fresh white potatoes from the grocery bags of WIC participants. USDA needs to stop bullying WIC participants and give Americans the freedom to choose what's best for their families.

MATT HARRIS, Ephrata

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