Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

The USPB and APRE: a great partnership

Published in the August 2014 Issue Published online: Aug 10, 2014 Blair Richardson, President & CEO, USPB
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As I settle into writing this column, I’ve just returned from the Alliance for Potato Research and Education (APRE) board meeting. While research can be slow and not always provide the immediate results we would like, we are starting to see a return on this investment that should increase over the next few years.

I can attest how APRE is 100 percent dedicated to expanding and translating scientific research into evidence-based education initiatives that recognize the role of all forms of the potato—a nutritious vegetable— in promoting health for all age groups.

The combined investments and industry commitments between processors and growers is fulfilling this mission with APRE. This partnership empowers greater and faster advances for the entire industry.

The APRE board of directors is represented by four major processors, three U.S. growers, one Canadian grower, the National Potato Council (NPC) and the United States Potato Board (USPB). At this most recent meeting, there was a change in leadership I would like to report on. I was elected chairman of the APRE board of directors. I am humbled by the trust extended to me by my fellow APRE board members and will dedicate my efforts toward promoting white potatoes—an affordable, nutrient-dense vegetable which is an important part of USDA’s MyPlate. While the initial and underlying focus of APRE was to defend frozen potato products with scientific-based research, the research and educational initiatives conducted by APRE support all potatoes and potato products.

Potatoes and potato products are the most economical source of dietary potassium in the supermarket. This is particularly important considering the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) recent proposal to require potassium labeling. That’s because the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans specifically note potassium and fiber as key nutrients deficient in most Americans’ diets.

Last year, APRE distributed free reprints of the executive summary paper from the Advances in Nutrition supplement, “White Vegetables: A Forgotten Source of Nutrients” at the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo in Houston. This paper is a summary of 10 papers presented at a Purdue University invitational roundtable.

Also, in March of this year, Maureen Storey, Ph.D., president and CEO of APRE, shared a new data analysis showing how white potato consumption is positively associated with the intake of dietary fiber among children and adults. Addressing more than 100 attendees of the 10th Vahouny Dietary Fiber Symposium in Bethesda, Md., she said, “There is a perception the dietary fiber in the potato is only in the skin. Not true. Although the skin is a source of dietary fiber, it is also found in the flesh of the potato.” Most Americans get only about half of the recommended adequate intake of dietary fiber. In addition, starchy vegetable and potato consumption is about half of what is recommended by the 2010 Dietary

Guidelines for Americans. APRE and the USPB are a positive partnership in the potato industry. It’s great to know we have valuable associations to engage the research community with regard to potato nutrition. What makes this alliance even better is recognizing the many ways potatoes and potato products can contribute to the health and well-being of adults and children here in America, as well as people around the world.