A federal proposal to alter the makeup of school lunches has a few of Colorado's political representatives playing hot potato.
Senator Mark Udall fears the proposal, which aims to reduce starchy vegetable servings to one cup weekly, will unfairly present potatoes as less healthy than other vegetables. According to 9News, Colorado is the fourth largest producer of potatoes in the country, amounting to around $300 million annually.
In a press release, Udall expresses fears that mandating other, more expensive, vegetables in school lunches could inadvertently cost states up to $7 billion over five years.
Senator Michael Bennet, a former superintendent, supports giving kids healthier meals at school, but favors practical implementation that does not overburden school districts. In a statement to HuffPost, Senator Bennet said, "The new child nutrition standards should apply nutrition science in developing the proper role for potatoes as part of that diet."
Representative Jared Polis, however, supports the new rules. "The new school meals rule will ensure that children are eating better foods at school and are therefore more prepared to learn and are less likely to suffer from obesity and related illnesses," said Polis. "Healthier school meals are a smart investment in our children and will save us billions in health costs down the road."
The Denver Post reports that the only political delegate from Colorado to have received political donations from the potato lobby is Rep. Scott Tipton. He opposes the starch-limiting standards.