French Fries OK'd as Fresh Vegetable

Batter-coated french fries are a fresh vegetable, according to the Agriculture Department, which has a federal judge's ruling to back it up. The classification applies only to rules of commerce, not nutrition, but nonetheless the ruling allowed batter-coated french fries to be considered fresh vegetables under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act. Most other frozen fries had been on the list since 1996. Regulations under the law are meant to assure buyers of commodities such as french fries that they are getting what they ordered. Frozen fries are "fresh" simply because they don't meet the standard necessary for them to be listed as processed. Fortunately, the commodities act does not apply to nutrition, where batter-coated french fries are still considered processed food--and even more fortunately, the department does not plan to repeat its experience in trying to classify ketchup as a vegetable in school lunches. If you're interested, you can find out why I list French fries as one of the five worst foods you could eat.

USA Today June 15, 2004



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