House, Senate spending bills would allow white potatoes in moms' and kids' nutrition program

WASHINGTON - The ubiquitous white potato has scored another victory on Capitol Hill.

House and Senate committees this week endorsed the inclusion of fresh white potatoes in the federal Women, Infants and Children nutrition program. The Agriculture Department doesn't allow them in the food program because they say people already eat enough of them. Other fresh fruits and vegetables are allowed.

The potato industry has aggressively lobbied for inclusion in WIC, saying it's not as much about sales as perception that potatoes are less nutritious than other vegetables.

The Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday adopted an amendment by Maine Sen. Susan Collins to an agriculture spending bill that would include white potatoes in WIC. That followed House approval of its version of the bill earlier this week, also allowing potatoes into the program.