Apr 8, 2024
USDA spokesman: Reclassification of potatoes has not been discussed

Potatoes are not in danger of being reclassified as a grain instead of a vegetable, a USDA spokesperson told Scripps News.

In an April 5 article on scrippsnews.com, the spokesperson said: “The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is not and has not discussed considering a change to the classification of potatoes.”

The 2025-2030 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are currently being written, with potato classification remaining a focus of industry attention.

Potatoes are not in danger of being reclassified as a grain instead of a vegetable, a USDA spokesperson told Scripps News. © enginakyurt, 123RF Free Images

Attendees at the National Potato Council’s Washington Summit, held Feb. 25-March 1, initiated support for a letter from 14 U.S. senators to USDA Secretary Thomas Vilsack and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra emphasizing the importance of keeping potatoes classified as a vegetable.

Potatoes have historically faced nutritional criticism for being high in the type of carbohydrate that the body digests rapidly, causing blood sugar and insulin to surge and then dip — which can result in a feeling of hunger soon after eating. The letter, and potato advocates, pointed out that potatoes are strong contributors of potassium, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and fiber.

“Each update of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans has far-ranging implications throughout federal, state, and local nutrition programs,” Bob Mattive, NPC president and a Colorado potato grower, said in a statement issued last week. “We are calling on USDA and HHS to reject any effort by the DGA committee to ignore long-standing nutritional and horticultural science by reclassifying potatoes as a grain or suggesting that potatoes are interchangeable with non-vegetables.”

NPC CEO Kam Quarles outlined consequences of potential reclassification to Spudman in April 2023. If reclassified, potatoes would no longer be considered a specialty crop and therefore ineligible for programs such as the USDA’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative and Specialty Crop Block Grant Program as well as farm bill initiatives, Quarles said.

Tags: ,

75 Applewood Dr. Ste. A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345


Get one year of Spudman in both print and digital editions for FREE. Preview our digital edition »

Interested in reading the print edition of Spudman?

Subscribe Today »

website development by deyo designs