In a press release published May 22, the National Potato Council (NPC) stated: We are grateful to the Senators and staff from both sides of the aisle who reviewed the science and the history of the WIC fruit and vegetable voucher program, and supported a path forward that will allow WIC participants access to fresh potatoes.
Based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the most recent CDC consumption data, all Americans, including WIC participants, are under-consuming nutritionally rich potatoes. Since potatoes are a recognized source of potassium, fiber, and folate â€“ nutrients that are deficient in many WIC participantsâ€™ diets â€“ adding them to this important federal nutrition program is grounded in science and common sense.
Reversing the ban on fresh potatoes in the WIC program has been a priority of the U.S. potato industry for some time, and todayâ€™s action by the Senate Appropriations Committee brings us one step forward to that goal. We look forward to the review of the fruit and vegetable components of the WIC food package, which we believe will maintain the valuable role of fresh potatoes in WIC participantsâ€™ diets.
We are confident that allowing participants to purchase any fresh fruit or vegetable in the produce aisle reinforces WIC programâ€™s mission to provide both nutrition and nutrition education for low-income women, infants, and children who are found to be at risk. In addition, adding inexpensive, nutrient-dense potatoes to the basket will help WIC mothers stretch their WIC dollars and reduce confusion at checkout.
WIC is one of the most successful nutritional programs implemented by the federal government, and we will continue to work with the nutrition community to educate WIC participants about the value of fresh potatoes in their diets.
Note: The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk. (Source: http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/women-infants-and-children-wic)
Source: NPC press release