The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the signing of a joint agency formal agreement under the Winning on Reducing Food Waste initiative. The agreement is aimed at improving coordination and communication across federal agencies attempting to educate Americans on the impacts and importance of reducing food loss and waste. The agreement was signed by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.
In the U.S., food waste is estimated at between 30% and 40% of the food supply. This figure, based on estimates from USDA’s Economic Research Service of 31% food loss at the retail and consumer levels, corresponded to approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010. Wasted food is the single largest category of material placed in municipal landfills.
“An unacceptable percentage of our food supply is lost or wasted,” said Perdue. “As the world’s population continues to grow and the food systems continue to evolve, now is the time for action to educate consumers and businesses alike on the need for food waste reduction. I am pleased to be joined by my Trump Administration colleagues on this important, common sense issue. The future of food depends on action from us now, which is why we have established this formal partnership among USDA, EPA, and FDA.”
“Sadly, each day too many American families struggle to meet their nutritional needs and we at the FDA recognize the important role that reducing food waste can play in filling this critical gap,” said Gottlieb. “By taking steps to address obstacles that food donation and recovery programs may face in giving unsold foods a second opportunity and helping food producers find ways to recondition their products so that they can be safely sold or donated, our aim is to both reduce food waste and nourish Americans in need. We are delighted to be collaborating with our federal partners on the Winning on Reducing Food Waste initiative as we continue to explore additional ways to reduce food waste and make safe, nutritional foods available to all.”