Collins: Vilsack says potato won’t be reclassified as grain

May 2, 2024 | by


Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said in a news release Wednesday that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack had called her the day before to say that USDA will officially support keeping potatoes classified as a vegetable, and not a grain.

This decision followed the bipartisan letter she led with Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., opposing any reclassification of potatoes as a grain instead of a vegetable, or including recommendations that potatoes and grains are interchangeable, as amendments to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are being considered.

“The reclassification of potatoes would have sent a false message to the public that the USDA believes that potatoes are not healthy,” said Collins.

“The fact is, when prepared properly, the potato is a wonderfully nutritious food that is affordable, easy to transport, has a long storage life, and can be used in a wide array of recipes.

“I am pleased Secretary Vilsack called me personally to tell me that the USDA has no intention of reclassifying potatoes and recognizes that potatoes are, in fact, a vegetable. I urge the DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services) to follow the USDA’s lead and recognize the same reality.”

A Vilsack spokesman said in an email, “As we have previously conveyed, the secretary reiterated to the senator that there is no intent and no effort underway to reclassify potatoes as a grain, nor are there analyses singling out potatoes.”


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