May 24, 2022NPC to USDA: Keep potatoes a vegetable in the next DGA
In response to efforts by anti-potato activists to limit the availability of potatoes in federal feeding programs and diminish their valuable contributions to Americans’ diets, National Potato Council (NPC) issued public comments this week to the agencies in charge of writing the 2025-2030 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). In the comments, NPC asked that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rebuff efforts to reposition “starchy vegetables,” such as potatoes, from the vegetable category into the grain category in the next DGA.
NPC wrote, “We have a strong concern about the suggestion of the interchangeability between starchy vegetables and grains and urge you to discard the concept. As vegetables overall are underconsumed in the American diet, efforts should be focused on how to increase vegetable consumption in the diet. The vegetable categories are fundamental across dietary patterns. While both vegetables and grains provide carbohydrates in the diet, potatoes are a vegetable horticulturally and nutritionally and should continue to be included in dietary patterns with other vegetables.”
In the comments, NPC highlighted the significant nutritional value of potatoes, including high levels of potassium and fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and plant-based protein. Given their unique nutrient contributions, NPC argues that potatoes should not be considered interchangeable with grains, which are not nutritionally or horticulturally equivalent.
NPC also urged the agencies to exercise caution when considering recommendations on “ultra-processed” foods, noting that there is no current scientific or universally accepted definition of what is considered “ultra-processed.”
“Without a consistent way of identifying what foods are considered ‘ultra-processed,’ how will the DGA committee conduct a robust assessment of nutrition research on the topic?” NPC wrote.