Senate Digs In Over Potatoes in School Lunches

Thwarts Obama's attempts to limit them for childrens' health

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 19, 2011 1:24 PM CDT

(Newser) – The Senate yesterday subtly thwarted an Obama administration proposal to limit the amount of potatoes and other starchy vegetables school children scarf down, inserting an amendment into an Agriculture Department spending bill prohibiting the Department from setting “any maximum limits on the serving of vegetables in school meal programs." The amendment passed by unanimous consent, the New York Times reports. The administration had wanted to limit “starchy vegetables” to one cup per student per week.

The proposal was intended to fight childhood obesity. But Susan Collins and Mark Udall, both from potato-populous states, came together for a bipartisan defense of the humble spud. “The proposed rule would prevent schools from serving an ear of fresh corn one day and a baked potato another day the same week, an utterly absurd result,” said Collins. Indeed, the Agriculture Department’s definition of “starchy vegetables” includes not just potatoes, but corn, green peas, and lima beans.

In this Sept. 30, 2010 photo, school cook Mavis McDowell, left, serves up tater tots to second-grader Madison Nunley at Naches Valley Primary School in Gleed, Wash.
In this Sept. 30, 2010 photo, school cook Mavis McDowell, left, serves up tater tots to second-grader Madison Nunley at Naches Valley Primary School in Gleed, Wash.   (AP Photo/Shannon Dininny)
In this Sept. 14, 2011 photo, baked potatoes are displayed in a dish during lunch at Gardiner High School in Gardiner, Maine.
In this Sept. 14, 2011 photo, baked potatoes are displayed in a dish during lunch at Gardiner High School in Gardiner, Maine.   (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach)
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