Special Guests: John Keeling - National Potato Council CEO
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Forget hot potatoes. Senators right now taking a stand for all potatoes. A bipartisan group on the Senate floor at this very hour, they're trying to block a federal plan to limit potatoes in school lunches. The attack on potatoes would cost taxpayers and schools nearly seven billion dollars over five years, because those lunches would simply cost more because they wouldn't have potatoes.
To John Kalich of the National Potato Council. John, leading aside there is such a thing as everything in moderation. If you don't like something, it doesn't mean you just throw it out. But that's a lot of potatoes. I mean, this is going to be big.
JOHN KEELING, NATIONAL POTATO COUNCIL: Six point eight billion dollars in cost is a lot, yes. USDA has put some plums out there, some enticements out there for the schools. If they meet this new school meal plan, they will get six cents more for every lunch and no more for every breakfast. That is the good news.
The bad news is, unfortunately, every lunch is going to cost 14 cents more and every breakfast is going to cost 50 cents more.
CAVUTO: The other says you're exaggerating the numbers and that flipping one out for the other doesn't necessarily mean that kids are at a disadvantage or that dietary restrictions are such that they're going to miss it. What do you say?
KEELING: Well, we know these things about potatoes. One, kids like potatoes. And two, according to USDA and the 2010 dietary guidelines, potatoes have two of the four nutrients of concern, potassium and fiber, in great amounts.
So there is no cheaper way for kids to get the potassium and fiber they need.
At a time when 90 percent of the kids are not getting the nutrients they need or the vegetables they need, it doesn't make any sense for us to tell them to eat less.
CAVUTO: Nevertheless, that is the way of the world right now. I'm wondering, today's potato pirates are the -- they will go after another food group down the world road. I'm just wondering to what end?
Last time I checked, our kids are still fat. They're getting fatter. whether you take the potatoes away or not, they just find an alternative.
I am wondering whether schools or the government should be doing this at all or whether parents should, and just let them decide that?
KEELING: You make a good point. When we look at the CDC data on what is being consumed in schools, you find that kids are getting less than three percent of their calories from potatoes in total, and then less than one percent of their calories in schools from potatoes.
So if you take potatoes completely out of the mix, you haven't dealt with the obesity problem.
We have to understand that obesity is complex. And the problem is complex. We get more calories today, by a long shot, than we did 100 years ago. We do less physical work than we did, and physical activity than we did 100 years ago.
So it is not surprising. But the outcome, you can't hank it on a single vegetable or on schools, for that matter.
CAVUTO: It is weird, because maybe the better effort should be just get them out and exercise. Then they can have whatever they want. But we'll watch it closely. John, thank you very much.
All right. Volt dolt. Empty charge-up stations now the proof.
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