The Women Infants and Children (WIC) welfare program doesn’t allow white potatoes to be purchased with program funds. This policy decision is based on the observation that participants “already eat enough white potatoes.” In response to this the Maine Potato Lobby is urging congress to change the guideline and allow potatoes. It looks like they might have the votes to do it.
I just sent the following email to our senators (Mikukski, Cardin):
I closely follow political news pertaining to food and food systems. I recently read that the Maine Potato Lobby is objecting to standards set for the WIC program: they want white potatoes to be allowed in the program as food for women, infants, and children (white potatoes are currently not allowed).
This is a tough issue. I ask myself if I want a precedent to be set for a lobby group to command congressional intervention in nutritional recommendations. On the other hand, whole white potatoes are a healthy staple for any diet. It is the oil and excessive sodium that is usually eaten along with white potatoes that is concerning. All potatoes contain protein, a small amount of healthy fat, complex carbohydrate to fuel brain function, fiber, vitamin C, and more potassium than bananas. Science supports eating a diet based on whole plant foods (such as potatoes). There have been several creditable experiments that show a diet based solely on potatoes is nutritionally complete.
I’m not affiliated with the Maine Potato Lobby or any other interest in this matter. I just eat a lot of potatoes! I encourage you to learn more about a plant-based diet by visiting http://www.drmcdougall.com and http://www.forksoverknives.com.
My request to you, Senator, is to weigh the impact of allowing congress to act based on a for-profit industry recommendation against the merit of the recommendation itself. I wouldn’t want Coca Cola lining up next saying “we must allow WIC participants to purchase sugar-sweetened beverages because they contain vitamin C and other nutrients.” But, I do want WIC participants to eat potatoes.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the issue.
So, what are YOUR thoughts?