Back to Specialty Food News

National Strategy to Reduce Food Loss, Waste Drafted

USDA, FDA, and Environmental Protection Agency jointly published for public comment the Draft National Strategy for Reducing Food Loss and Waste and Recycling Organics on Saturday. The strategy outlines targeted actions by the three bodies to prevent food loss and waste to mitigate the environmental repercussions of wasted food, including its impact on climate.

“Food loss and waste poses a real challenge to agriculture, food, and the climate. In order to tackle this problem, and in turn build a resilient food system and mitigate climate impacts, we must explore and implement innovative solutions,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a statement. “This joint effort between USDA, EPA, and FDA will enhance interagency coordination and represents a vital step towards preventing food loss and waste, increasing organic waste recycling, and promoting economic opportunity.”

The announcement was made at COP28, the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, and advances the USDA’s goals to enhance agriculture’s ability to address global food security, manage the consequences of climate change, and engage in innovative practices, according to USDA.

This strategy is a deliverable in the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, released in conjunction with the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in September 2022.

The draft strategy sets four objectives: preventing the loss of food where possible, preventing the waste of food where possible, increasing the recycling rate for all organic waste, and supporting policies that incentivize food loss and waste prevention and organics recycling.

For each objective, the draft strategy highlights actions that USDA, EPA, and FDA could take. Some of the priority USDA actions include:

• Investing $30 million in the Composting and Food Waste Reduction Cooperative Agreements.

• Expanding partnerships with National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) food system programs to further develop educational materials, research, and outreach for food loss and waste prevention.

• Funding research and development on innovative new packaging technology to extend the shelf life of food and prevent loss.

The public comment period for the draft will run from December 5, 2023, through January 4, 2024.

Related: States Recycle, Donate Excess Food; Food City, Eastman Chemical Co. Partner on Recycling