USDA, EPA, and FDA Unveil Strategy to Reduce Food Waste

Agencies plan to collaborate with private industry to reduce food loss and waste across the supply chain.

Purdue Agricultural Communication-Tom Campbell

As part of the Trump Administration’s Winning on Reducing Food Waste Month, the USDA, EPA, and FDA released a federal interagency strategy to address food waste. The agencies held an event at EPA headquarters to hear from state, local and community leaders and other stakeholders on how all levels of government can work together to reduce food waste.

The interagency strategy announced today, Winning on Reducing Food Waste FY 2019-2020 Federal Interagency Strategy, includes six key priority areas the agencies will work together on over the next year, including one focused specifically toward the food industry (#5):

  1. Enhance interagency coordination.
  2. Increase consumer education and outreach efforts.
  3. Improve coordination and guidance on food loss and waste measurement.
  4. Clarify and communicate information on food safety, food date labels, and food donations.
  5. Collaborate with private industry to reduce food loss and waste across the supply chain.
  6. Encourage food waste reduction by federal agencies in their respective facilities.

Event attendees heard remarks from Secretary Perdue, Administrator Wheeler, and Deputy Commissioner Yiannas. A panel discussion titled “Lessons Learned from States, Cities, and Organizations in Reducing Wasted Food” was followed by an information exchange among all participants on specific community efforts to reduce food waste and additional support needed to advance state, tribal, and local initiatives. In addition, state and local leaders signed a pledge to work together with federal partners to build new or upon existing efforts to address food loss and waste in the U.S. At the event, the agencies also announced a joint agreement signed between the agencies and ReFED, Inc. to better evaluate and improve upon strategies to reduce food loss and waste.

The announcements and stakeholder event were key steps in moving forward with the formal agreement signed by all three federal agencies in 2018 announcing the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative. The Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative is a collaborative effort among USDA, EPA, and FDA to reduce food loss and waste through combined and agency-specific action. Individually and collectively, these agencies contribute to the initiative, encourage long-term reductions, and work toward the goal of reducing food loss and waste in the United States. These actions include research, community investments, education and outreach, voluntary programs, public-private partnerships, tool development, technical assistance, event participation, and policy discussion.

USDA, EPA, and FDA invite public and private partners to participate in “Winning on Reducing Food Waste Month” through the following:

Join the conversation: Share your efforts with the #NoWastedFood hashtag in your social media posts throughout the month.

Educate your community: Learn about USDAEPA, and FDA programs and resources to reduce food loss and waste.

Be a U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champion: Join other corporate and business leaders who have made a public commitment to reducing food loss and waste in their U.S. operations by 50 percent by the year 2030.

In the U.S., more than one-third of all available food goes uneaten through loss or waste. Food is the single largest type of waste in our daily trash. In recent years, great strides have been made to highlight and mitigate food loss and waste, but the work has just begun. When food is tossed aside, so too are opportunities for economic growth, healthier communities, and environmental protection – but that can change through partnership, leadership, and action.

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