Potato industry representatives hope they may still get their crop included in a national program designed to improve nutrition for women and children in need.
A USDA policy bars white potatoes from the list of fruits and vegetables approved for participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.
The USDA argues that WIC serves a population that already consumes sufficient quantities of potatoes. WIC gives food vouchers to low-income pregnant or breast-feeding women and women with children less than five years old.
The WIC discussion will be part of an overall National Potato Council meeting in Washington D.C. Representatives intend to meet with legislators during that time, said council executive director John Keeling.
The USDA has issued its interim final rule excluding potatoes, but it technically has not been finalized, said Chris Voigt, Washington Potato Commission executive director. That means there's still an opportunity for President Barack Obama's administration or Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to change the rule, he said.
There's been no indication when a final rule will be issued, Voigt said.
SOURCE: Matthew Weaver, Capital Press