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FDA, USDA, & EPA Propose Strategy to Reduce Food Loss, Waste

The agencies are seeking public comment on the proposed strategy.

Kristen Kazarian

December 5, 2023

2 Min Read
Federal agencies put out national strategic plan for food loss and waste
More than one-third, nearly 100 million tons, of municipal waste stream is organic waste, and food comprises 66 million tons of it.Image courtesy of Peter Dazeley / The Image Bank via Getty Images

The US Food and Drug Administration, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a national strategy that will drive progress toward the national goal to reduce food loss and waste in the US by 50% by 2030, the agencies claim.

This action is a continuation of the three agencies' collaborative efforts to build a more sustainable future.

In the US, food is the single most common material found in landfills. More than one-third, nearly 100 million tons, of municipal waste stream is organic waste, and food comprises 66 million tons of that waste. The Draft National Strategy for Reducing Food Loss and Waste and Recycling Organics identifies opportunities to reduce food loss and waste across the entire supply chain.

"The FDA supports the mission to reduce food loss and waste. While we look forward to our continued partnership with USDA and EPA, we also want Americans to feel empowered and confident in their ability to play a part in that mission," said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf. "We encourage the public to comment on practical ways everyone can play a role in reducing food waste."

This strategy is part of one of the five pillars 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 features four objectives:

  • Prevent the loss of food where possible.

  • Prevent the waste of food where possible.

  • Increase the recycling rate for all organic waste. 

  • Support policies that incentivize and encourage food loss and waste prevention and organics recycling.

For each objective, the draft strategy highlights actions that the FDA, USDA or EPA could take. Examples of specific FDA actions include:

  • FDA and USDA will contribute date labeling and food safety advice to inform EPA's national consumer education campaign.

  • FDA will continue working with the food industry to advance the goals under the FDA New Era of Smarter Food Safety initiative to support and encourage supply chain stakeholders to adopt and leverage tech-enabled digital tracing technologies to remove contaminated foods more rapidly and accurately from the marketplace, while simultaneously reducing food loss and food waste associated with contamination events.

  • FDA will continue to encourage uniform adoption of food donation practices updated in the Food Code, which provide consistency and uniformity for public health officials.

This effort will also provide social and economic benefits, including the potential to:

  • Increase food access for food-insecure Americans and increase the recovery rate and donation of wholesome food, such as through the emergency food system.

  • Create new jobs, industries, and sectors of the economy.

  • Increase supply chain resiliency.

  • Deliver financial savings to households, which can also help address the needs of underserved communities.

Opportunity for public comment will begin December 5 and remain open for 30 days. Share comments through Regulations.gov, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OLEM-2022-0415.

About the Author(s)

Kristen Kazarian

Managing Editor

Kristen Kazarian has been a writer and editor for more than three decades. She has worked at several consumer magazines and B2B publications in the fields of food and beverage, packaging, processing, women's interest, local news, health and nutrition, fashion and beauty, automotive, and computers.

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