Attn: You Say Potato, I Say Politics


Since the introduction of WebMD, everyone thinks they’re an expert. The newest MDs on the block? Potato lobbyists.

A fight between these lobbyists and nutrition experts has been baking in the oven since 2005 over the exclusion of the potato from the list of approved items on the WIC food program. These potato lobbyists have not bent on this issue, probably due to their highly starched suits. The WIC program currently provides its 8.7 million users, primarily women and children, access to essential supplemental nutrition such as milk, eggs, and infant formula.

While independent nutrition experts at the Institute of Medicine have stated that women and children are receiving enough starch in their diets, the potato lobbyists have the tater tots to disagree; they know what your family truly needs, and they just also happen to be the ones that sell it.

Critics might state the lobbyists are only using their influence to get on the approved WIC items list in order to serve as a marketing tool. And critics might also state that allowing for this special-interest group to lobby their way into legislation might open the floodgates for a democracy that resembles some hybrid of eBay and Grinder where poor decision-making leads to painful outcomes. Finally, critics might say Senator Susan Collins is only spearheading the inclusion of the potato on the WIC due to a conflict of interests since she represents the potato-rich state of Maine.

And critics should say all of those things.

We should be disgusted to live a “democracy” where the nutritional needs of our nation’s women and children can be overshadowed by the influence of lobbyists whose only goal is to profit.


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