Michelle Obama’s apparent quest to dictate what her subjects are allowed to eat advanced recently with her firm stance against the utilitarian potato. She concluded that Americans eat enough of the starchy vegetable as it is, declaring it should not be included as an option in the WIC food nutrition program.
While Time reports that food stamps can be used to purchase items like candy, sugary soda, energy drinks, and alcoholic drink mixes, the first lady apparently believes children in these government-dependent families should not be able to obtain the filling, nutritious, and inexpensive potato.
“The problem is that many women and children already consume enough potatoes and not enough of the nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables they need,” she claimed in a recent commentary. “That’s why the Institute of Medicine – the nonpartisan, scientific body that advises on the standards for WIC – has said that potatoes should not be part of the WIC program.”
Lobbyists for the versatile food are outraged. The National Potato Council recently released a statement shredding Michelle Obama’s claim that her position is backed by science. In reality, the group claims, she is “picking and choosing” which studies she cites.
“Instead of relying on a 2005 report that looks at data from the mid-1990s,” the statement explained, “we argue that important federal nutrition programs should be based on the latest available science – in this case, USDA’s own 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.”
According to that study, the advocates insist that “all Americans, including WIC participants, are under consuming nutritionally rich potatoes.”
The group cited Center for Disease Control studies that show “women in the 19-30 age group consume only 2.4 cups of starchy vegetables per week,” or less than half of the recommended intake “for women with a 2,000 calorie diet.”
Additionally, kids between two and four years old are falling far short of the maximum recommended intake each week, the statement concluded.
Nevertheless, the white potato is reportedly the only fresh fruit or vegetable not included in the WIC food nutrition program.
Legislators apparently saw the fallacy in such restrictions – especially when products like sugar cane are allowed in the program – and decided to consider a bill that would reverse the exclusion. The National Potato Council offered its thanks to “House and Senate members and staff who reviewed the science and the history of the WIC fruit and vegetable voucher program, and support a path forward that will allow WIC participants access to fresh potatoes.”
Photo Credit: Facebook/Michelle Obama
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom