Senate Votes Unlimited Potatoes In Schools

Published in the December 2011 Issue Published online: Dec 08, 2011

The Senate threw its support behind the potato in October, voting to block an Obama administration proposal to limit the vegetable on school lunch lines.

USDA rules proposed earlier this year aimed to reduce the amount of french fries in schools, limiting lunchrooms to two servings a week of potatoes and other starchy vegetables. That angered the potato industry and members of Congress from potato-growing states, who say USDA should focus on the preparation instead and that potatoes can be a good source of fiber and potassium.

Following a bipartisan agreement on the issue, the Senate by voice vote accepted an amendment by Republican Sen. Susan Collins that would block USDA from putting any limits on serving potatoes or other vegetables in school lunches.

Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch released the following statement:

"We are pleased to see that our Senate colleagues agree with us and recognize that the potato is an important vegetable to keep in school meals. It was clear that no one wanted to increase the cost of school meals, reduce local flexibility and make it more difficult to deliver the healthy foods our kids need."

Crapo and Risch were original co-sponsors of the bipartisan amendment authored by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mark Udall (D-Colorado). The amendment will be added to the final language of the Agricultural/Rural Development, CJS and Transportation Appropriations bill. A vote on the final bill is expected later this week.

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