FDA, USDA and EPA Propose Strategy to Reduce Food Waste

The strategy is open for comments now.

December 05, 2023

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

Public comment on the draft begins today, December 5, and will remain open for 30 days.

According to a press release from the FDA, food is the single most common material found in landfills in the United States. More than one-third, nearly 100 million tons, of municipal waste stream is organic waste. Food makes up 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 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.

According to the draft, the Biden-Harris administration is seeking input from diverse partners—including local, state, Tribal, and territorial governments; professional and industry associations; individuals, private companies, and those working in food and agricultural industries; academic institutions; and non-governmental and community-based organizations. The administration then intends to address the comments, finalize the strategy and begin implementation of the final strategy in 2024.

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