WA Senator Maria Cantwell calls for potatoes to remain classified as vegetables

In a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, WA Senator Maria Cantwell (D) has joined other senators in opposing the reclassification of potatoes from vegetable to grain.

The reclassification of potatoes from vegetable to grain is currently being considered during the Dietary Guidelines for Americans process.

“Since the inception of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), it has classified potatoes correctly as a vegetable,” the group of Senators wrote. “There is no debate about the physical characteristics of the potato and its horticultural scientific classification. Unlike grains, white potatoes are strong contributors of potassium, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and fiber.”

“Any change to potatoes’ current classification under the DGAs would immediately confuse consumers, retailers, restaurant operators, growers, and the entire supply chain,” the Senators continued.

Cantwell was joined by multiple other senators in the letter, including Susan Collins (R-ME), Michael Bennet (D-CO), James Risch (R-ID), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Angus King (I-ME), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Steve Daines (R-MT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), John Hoeven (R-ND), and Jeffrey Merkley (D-OR).

“We strongly urge you to avoid reclassifying potatoes as a grain or suggest grains and potatoes are interchangeable. Given the rapid timeline that the DGAs are on, we ask that you provide us an update on this issue as soon as possible,” the Senators concluded.