The Institute of Medicine's nutrition standards limiting starch in school meals were changed after the potato lobbyists went to work
A recent New York Times' report (in which I am quoted) reminds me that it's time I commented on the astonishing dispute about potatoes in school meals.
On October 20, 2009, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a report on nutrition standards for school meals. It recommended that school meals be aligned with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. To do so, the IOM said USDA should:
Adopt standards for menu planning that increase the amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; increase the focus on reducing the amounts of saturated fat and sodium provided; and set a minimum and maximum level of calories.
To do that, the IOM said USDA should establish (1) weekly requirements for dark green and orange vegetables and legumes, and (2) limits -- of one cup a week -- on starchy vegetables such as white potatoes, corn, lima beans, and peas.
The IOM's quite sensible rationale? To encourage students to try new vegetables in place of the familiar starchy ones.
In January of this year, the USDA proposed new nutrition standards for school meals based on the IOM report. These included the IOM's recommendation of no more than one cup a week of starchy vegetables.