From the Office of Rep. Bill Sali
WASHINGTON, D.C. â€“ Congressman Bill Sali says the U.S. Department of Agriculture was wrong to exclude white potatoes from the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, and heâ€™s asking key Members of Congress to overturn that decision as they write the new Farm Bill.
Sali, in a letter co-signed by U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, is asking for the Farm Bill Conference Committee to incorporate wording in the 2008 Farm bill that will ensure that all fresh fruits and vegetables, including white potatoes, are included in the WIC program. The letter is addressed to House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson and Ranking Member Bob Goodlatte.
â€œBy excluding only white potatoes from the WIC program, this rule will create confusion on the part of participants, which may drive these individuals to other, less-healthy options. Moreover, it will also create administrative burdens for participating grocers and vendors,â€ the congressmen write. â€œThe exclusion adds an unnecessary logistical complexity for all who use the WIC program â€“ participants, grocers and vendors.â€
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently published an interim rule that excluded white potatoes from the program. The WIC program is supposed to assist low-income and nutritionally at-risk pregnant and breastfeeding women and their infants and children.
The potato is an inexpensive fresh vegetable that requires no refrigeration and contains high amounts of many nutrients, Sali and Simpson say in their letter.
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