And I fully endorse this blog post:
I know, it seems goofy to fight about potatoes, but Catherine Rampell makes very important points about an on-going dust-up involving white potatoes and WIC, a nutritional support program for low-income pregnant women, new mothers, and infants. If this debate bounces the wrong way, it will represent a serious and potentially far-reaching defeat for nutritional science over special interest bucks.
The Institute of Medicine provides the program with unbiased information on what low-income families are best off consuming with their WIC resources.
The Institute found that starchy foods like white potatoes, while nutritious, were already well-represented in poor families’ diets. (Sweet potatoes and yams were not, so they are available through WIC.)
Needless to say, the tuber lobby is unhappy about this. The amount of money at stake through WIC is relatively tiny — small potatoes, you might say…but spud farmers believe excluding white potatoes from WIC is bad for marketing and therefore gives the entire white potato industry a black eye.
Last week 20 senators sent an angry letter to the Agriculture Department secretary, demanding an immediate end to anti-tater bigotry, and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine, where the top agricultural commodity is potatoes) reportedly will soon offer a legislative amendment mandating the inclusion of white potatoes in WIC…
Pediatrics professor Irwin Redlener efficiently summarized the threat: “Once the door is open to undermine the program this way, by putting it in the hands of the political machinery rather than scientific recommendations, it will be very hard to reverse it.”
We’ve already got this problem big time on climate—do we really need on nutritional as well?