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Congress Finally Approves Potatoes as Part of the WIC Program For Low-Income Moms -- Buy Why Not Sooner?

Potatoes Approved By Congress For Wic

The Women, Infants and Children nutrition program (WIC) was established by Congress in 1974 through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service program. The program provides food, nutrition counseling, and access to health services to low-income women, infants, and children. But until now, potatoes were not included as part of the program. Why?

What's wrong with potatoes?

WIC did not include white potatoes on their list of authorized food to purchase with WIC vouchers because they were concerned that program participants would turn them into french fries. Because of this, the white potato has been off the list since 2009. Is this the right thing to do?

It raises the question as to whether or not the government program should rightfully exclude a food item not because there is anything wrong with the food but because of the way people might prepare the food that could be unhealthy. But, couldn't this happen to other fruits and vegetables that are included in the program?

Potatoes back on the list

The fact is that potatoes are considered a staple in most homes, especially the white potato. Potato proponents across the country also point out that potatoes contain good nutritional benefits with potassium and vitamin B. They are inexpensive, too. After strong push back from the potato industry and others, the WIC program has reinstated the potato.

To find out more about how to qualify for WIC nutrition benefits, visit www.fns.usda.gov/wic/wic-eligibility-requirements

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