NewsIndustryUSDA to Keep the Potato Classified as Vegetable, Not a Grain

USDA to Keep the Potato Classified as Vegetable, Not a Grain

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Potatoes will officially remain classified as a vegetable in the United States.

U.S. Senator Susan Collins received a call from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Thomas Vilsack, who informed her that the USDA will officially support maintaining potatoes’ classification as a vegetable, rather than a grain.

According to a press release on her website, the decision followed the bipartisan letter she led with Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) opposing any reclassification of potatoes as a grain instead of a vegetable, or including recommendations that potatoes and grains are interchangeable as changes to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) are being considered.

“The reclassification of potatoes would have sent a false message to the public that the USDA believes that potatoes are not healthy.  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,” said Senator Collins. “I am pleased Secretary Vilsack called me personally to tell me that the USDA has no intention of reclassifying potatoes and recognizes that potatoes are, in fact, a vegetable.  I urge the DHHS to follow the USDA’s lead and recognize the same reality.”

The release notes that the USDA shares jurisdiction over the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) process with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS). Senator Collins is awaiting a written response from DHHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.

On March 26, 14 U.S. senators wrote a letter to the heads of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) regarding their position against “recent press reports concerning the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs)… and the possible reclassification of potatoes as a grain, instead of a vegetable.” Twenty-seven additional members of congress also signed support of the letter.

Related Links:

U.S. Lawmakers Push to Keep Potatoes Classified as Vegetables

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