Q. How did the Idaho Potato Commission handle USDA regulations that removed potatoes from school breakfast and lunch menus? And how many potatoes are used in the school lunch program?
A. Much of the criticism of potatoes, which peaked in 2011 and 2012, centered around frozen and fried potato preparation. Most of the school programs I am familiar with have eliminated fryers completely in kitchens and fries or hash browns, if offered, are baked.
There were many programs that the US Potato Board, the National Potato Council, and the Idaho Potato Commission undertook to highlight the nutritious ways for kids to consume potatoes.
Rather than go into all the things the US Potato Board, The National Potato Council, the Idaho Potato Commission did to help keep nutritious ways to have kids consume potatoes in school I’ve attached some links:
- http://foodservice.idahopotato.com/wakeup_contest Breakfast recipe contest was reported in the School Nutrition Magazine along with a large 8 page article on potatoes in school foodservice: http://www.schoolnutrition.org/Content.aspx?id=16262 November 2011
I really don’t think we should have to defend fresh potatoes when baked or used in potato bars from a nutritional standpoint. The facts speak for themselves: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2770/2
Frozen potato processors such as Simplot have also addressed school programs with their “Smart Foods For School Miles” program: http://www.simplotfoods.com/index.cfm?content=schools
As far as the number of potatoes used in the school programs, the USDA may have that info, but I am not aware of a source to find it easily.