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It’s official: Potatoes are a vegetable

May 23, 2024  By Potatoes in Canada


It’s official: when your parent tells you to “eat your vegetables,” you can still opt for a potato.

The USDA and the U.S. Department of Human Health Services (HHS) are currently in the midst of a multi-year process to develop the tenth edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. An official committee is reviewing evidence on scientific questions related to nutrition and health to inform a report that will be submitted to both departments later this year.

Earlier this year, industry groups reported of the potential for potatoes to be reclassified as a grain and not a vegetable, which is thought to be because potatoes are a higher source of carbohydrates than other vegetables. While there had been no official statement declaring the intent to reclassify potatoes, the murmurs were enough to catch the attention of politicians on both sides of the aisle, as well as producers in the U.S. and Canada alike.

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A letter addressed to Republican Senator Susan Collins, jointly authored by USDA secretary Tom Vilsack and HHS secretary Xavier Becerra, affirmed that there is no intention to reclassify potatoes.

“Let us assure you that there is no intent and no effort underway to reclassify potatoes as a grain, nor are there analyses singling out potatoes,” the letter stated.

Vilsack and Becerra’s letter was in response to a joint letter by Collins and 13 other senators from both major parties expressing their concern, and advocating for potatoes to remain classified as a vegetable.

A theoretical reclassification could affect numerous things from funding for nutritional programs to the supply chain.┬áBut beyond such issues, Collins stated that it could also affect consumer perception. “The reclassification of potatoes would have sent a false message to the public that USDA and DHHS believe that potatoes are not healthy,” she said in a statement.

Farm groups and politicians alike have welcomed the declaration.


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