So how safe is – the potato?

This is the first in a new and ongoing fact series  showing how safe certain foods are, as well as some history and other interesting facts about those foods.

We start with - the potato.

It is perhaps the most versatile vegetable in the world and can be served; roasted, grilled, boiled, mashed, BBQ, sautéed and fried. It can be eaten on it's own or mixed with other food.


The potato when whole and uncut is safe for consumption unless it is green. The green colour shows that there has been a chemical reaction and Solanine has been produced. This is poisonous when eaten in quantity, so green potato parts should not be eaten.

Cut potatoes are considered to be one of the potentially hazardous foods, so must be kept below 5C (41F) or above 65C (140F) to ensure that any bacteria present are not an issue.


Potatoes will change colour once they are cut, due to another chemical reaction with air, so hold them in cool clean water after cutting or cook them straight away.


After rice, wheat and maize, potatoes are the fourth largest crop in the world.

The Incas were the first to cultivate them between 8000 and 5000BC, in Peru.

The Conquistadors introduced them to Europe after the conquest of Peru in 1536.

Introduced into Ireland by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1589.

Nearly a million people died in the Potato Blight Outbreak in the 1840s.

The Russet Burbank variety, which is one of the most important potatoes, was developed in 1872.

In 1767, A.Parmentier created a potato only feast that was attended by France's King Louis XIV.

French Fries were created by Thomas Jefferson.

Potato Chips were created by George Crum.

In October 1995, potatoes became the first vegetable grown in space.


There are seven types of potatoes, and many varieties within them,; Russet, Red, White, Yellow, Purple / Blue, Fingerling and Petite.


A medium size average potato with the skin on contains the following;

  • Potassium 620mg  -which is 18% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)
  • Vitamin C - 45% RDA
  • Fibre - 8% RDA
  • Vitamin B6 - 10% RDA
  • Iron - 6% RDA


  •  Cool, dry place
  • Avoid light
  • Not in the fridge
  • Wash only at preparation not before storage.

More facts about other foods can be yours, when you get your FREE copy of the Five Hundred Food Facts Game at




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