The Washington Times - May 26, 2011, 02:52PM

Maine grows a lot of potatoes, and one of the state’s two U.S. senators is telling Michelle Obama and the Agriculture Department to let potatoes keep a prized place on school menus.

In a letter to Mrs. Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Sen. Olympia J. Snowe objected to new government recommendations that schools limit servings of starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn and green peas to just a cup a week.

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Mrs. Snowe said potatoes have more potassium than bananas, and as much fiber as broccoli — two nutrients the government says are lacking in many diets. A medium potato also has 45 percent of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin C, she said.

Mrs. Obama has made school nutrition one of her signature issues as first lady, Mrs. Snow said that should case her to get involved in pushing back against the menu rules. The rules apply only to federally subsidized food, but that usually ends up determining the menus for all students.

“This proposal would likely have serious unintended consequences for America’s children, and, in view of your appreciation of child nutrition, deserves your personal attention,” Mrs. Snowe wrote to the first lady.