Irish and Americans turning their backs on the humble potato

Both Ireland and America appear to be putting the pinch on potatoes as of late. America is moving to cut it from school hot lunches, while Ireland is struggling to make the spud “cool” again after consumption dropped 10 percent.

Ireland is grappling with the perception of the potato. The Irish Independent reports that the Food Board, An Bord Bia is launching a commission to determine just why more and more people are opting for alternatives over the traditional potato.

Lorcan Bourke of An Bord Bia said: “We have found that emotionally, Irish people love their spuds, but they just aren't eating as many.”

He reports that consumption is down 10 percent year on year.

Burke also noted that the sudden shift from spuds may be due to frequent association of potatoes with being fattening. However, he said that potatoes themselves aren’t so, but rather the butter that tends to go with them.

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In a move that is surprising many, the U.S. Congress is looking to include pizza as one of the required servings of vegetables for schoolchildren as part of its design for budget cuts.

"We are not saying pizza is a vegetable,” said Corey Henry, the spokesman for the American Frozen Food Institute, which supports the bill. “What we are saying is if you serve a slice of pizza with 2 tablespoons of vegetable paste, it can be an important way to deliver a number of vegetables that children will actually consume.”

ABC News reports that with Congress looking to reduce budgets, it will seek to “halt some of the Department of Agriculture’s new nutritional guidelines for school lunches” which will increase the current $11 billion school lunch program by almost another $7 billion over five years.

The idea to count pizza, specifically the tomato sauce which can supposedly count, as a serving of vegetables, is similar to President Reagan’s move in the 80s to count ketchup as a vegetable as it was cheaper than broccoli or peas.

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