The proposal is an effort to make school meals healthier, with more nutrient-rich vegetables and fewer French fries.
Under the plan, school cafeterias would limit starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, peas and lima beans to a total of one cup per week for lunch.
The USDA will release final rules in coming months. They will go into effect in the 2012-2013 school year.
The National Potato Council is urging the “entire potato industry” to mobilize.
“Potatoes are really nutritious,” says the manager of a childhood-obesity program. “We encourage schools to eliminate fries or serve them once a week. It is the preparation that causes the problem.”
Schools often serve potatoes with butter, sour cream, bacon, or cheddar cheese.
The USDA is not “discriminating against potatoes,” but wants to move away from the “fried nature” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.