The House Appropriations Committee today passed the fiscal year 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill. Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson is a member of the committee and offered an amendment to allow states to include fresh potatoes in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Simpson's amendment passed by voice vote.
"Fresh potatoes have been excluded from the WIC program despite their widely known nutritional value," said Simpson. "This important amendment corrects the unfair exclusion on fresh potatoes and allows participants to make smart wholesome food choices for their young families."
Potatoes are currently excluded from the WIC program despite being nutrient dense, affordable, low in calories, and free of fat, cholesterol, and sodium. A medium-sized potato packs more potassium than a banana and is a good source of dietary fiber--both of which are "nutrients of concern," meaning those nutrients most lacking in Americans' diets, according to USDA's 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The bill was approved by the full committee on a voice vote and now awaits consideration by the full House.