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U.S. determines the potato is a vegetable

U.S. determines the potato is a vegetable

The U.S. Dietary Advisory Committee studied whether potatoes should be classified as a vegetable or a grain

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The verdict is in, and potatoes are still vegetables in the U.S.

“Lets us reassure you that there is no intent and no effort underway to reclassify potatoes as a grain, nor are there analyses singling out potatoes,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra wrote in a May 17 letter to Senator Susan Collins.

In 2023, the U.S. Dietary Advisory Committee, which includes HHS and USDA representatives, started work on the 10th edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provides advice on what to eat and drink to meet nutrient needs.

This guideline is updated every five years.

And committee reps debated reclassifying potatoes as grains to have them in the same category as rice and other related products.

Potatoes do contain starch like grains. But they also have Vitamins C and B6, protein and potassium – like kale, spinach, broccoli and cabbage.

Reclassifying potatoes as grains would’ve caused multiple issues.

“The reclassification of potatoes would have sent a false message to the public that USDA and DHHS believe that potatoes are not healthy,” Sen. Collins said in a statement. “The fact is, when prepared properly, the potato is a wonderfully nutritious food that is affordable, easy to transport, has a long storage life, and can be used in a wide array of recipes.”

The potato sector is pleased the crop will remain a vegetable.

Bob Mattive, president of the National Potato Council, called the decision a “positive development,” and says any effort to treat potatoes differently than other vegetables is taken seriously.

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