CEO Blair Richardson has stated that Potatoes USA considered its relationship with the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) as a “cornerstone” of its mission to promote spuds. However, Richardson has made public Potatoes USA’s decision to cease funding to the institute, which has produced some of the world’s most famous chefs, because of its message that potato consumption should be limited.
Potatoes USA invested $100,000 in the CIA during the past year and more than $1 million in all. CIA’s Menus of Change initiative has created a “Principles of Healthy, Sustainable Menus” list, with one of its key points being to “Limit Potatoes.”
“Chefs should also consider healthier alternatives including sweet potatoes, which are rich in beta-carotene and other vitamins, and healthier side dishes that highlight fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts,” it states.
Richardson said Potatoes USA has provided the CIA with scientific research that shows the health benefits of potatoes, but without results. “We’re big fans of theirs; they are a very effective organization,” Richardson said. “We’ve considered them a cornerstone of our program, but we can’t continue this.”
Richardson said Potatoes USA informed the U.S. Department of Agriculture of its decision Sept. 5. He added that Potatoes USA plans to discuss the situation further with the USDA and other commodities and agriculture boards.