Business

You say co-op, they say cartel

Potatoes are America’s most popular vegetable, and a new recommendation from the Institute of Medicine could finally include them as an eligible vegetable in the federal WIC food voucher program. The existing voucher ban on white potatoes includes yellow, purple, red and fingerling varieties. Sweet potatoes and yams already are eligible to be purchased with WIC vouchers.
Potatoes are America’s most popular vegetable, and a new recommendation from the Institute of Medicine could finally include them as an eligible vegetable in the federal WIC food voucher program. The existing voucher ban on white potatoes includes yellow, purple, red and fingerling varieties. Sweet potatoes and yams already are eligible to be purchased with WIC vouchers. U.S. Department of Agriculture

A set of lawsuits combines a couple of phrases you might not expect to find together: “massive international cartel” and “potato.”

According to a group of grocers, the innocuous looking potato on your plate got there through a conspiracy involving price-fixing, coercion and aerial surveillance. Potato growers counter there is no cartel — just a co-op.

In 2004, in an office in Blackfoot, Idaho, 23 potato growers got together to see what they could do about the sorry state of potato prices. That, at least, is how a class-action lawsuit describes the genesis of a group that would become the powerful United Potato Growers of America. The lawsuit is winding its way through federal court in Idaho.

Read the complete story at Boise State Public Radio.

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