King released the following statement:
“I am extremely disappointed that, despite overwhelming evidence showing the nutritional benefits of white potatoes, USDA has decided to continue its exclusion of fresh potatoes from the WIC program. WIC is designed to provide critical nutritional support to young mothers and their children by giving them access to fruits and vegetables, and white potatoes are an essential and low-cost component of a healthy and nutritious diet. It is shortsighted and misguided to exclude them from the program, particularly given that less healthy options – like sugarcane – are included.”
Last spring, King co-sponsored an amendment to the Senate Farm Bill which would have included white potatoes in the WIC program. This amendment, which was authored by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, did not receive a vote on the Senate floor. In October, as the 2013 Farm Bill headed to conference, King wrote a letter outlining several farming and food issues of particular importance to Maine, including that all white potatoes be included in the WIC program.
WIC program regulations are expected to be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, according to Michaud's office.