Federal agencies unveil plan to combat food waste

Joint strategy between USDA, FDA and EPA intended to cut food loss in half by 2030.

Joshua Baethge, Policy editor

December 5, 2023

1 Min Read
Getty Images/ iStock

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have announced a joint strategy intended to cut food loss in half by 2030. The plan includes changes in product date labeling and a call to adopt uniform food donation practices. It also called for FDA to work with the food industry to develop better technologies that more quickly and effectively remove contaminated food from the market. Better efficiency could reduce food loss and food waste that often accompanies food recall efforts.

Government data shows food is the most common item found in landfills. More than one-third, nearly 100 million tons, of municipal waste stream is organic waste and food comprises sixty-six million tons of that waste. In accordance with the Biden administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, the new draft is meant to prevent the loss or waste of food wherever possible. The proposal is also an attempt to increase the organic waste recycling rates and incentivize food waste reduction programs.

Federal officials are inviting the public to weigh in on the proposal starting Dec. 5. The comment period will be open for 30 days.

In remarks following the announcement at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said 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,” he said. “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.”

About the Author(s)

Joshua Baethge

Policy editor, Farm Progress

Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.

Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.

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