• As previously covered on this blog, food waste is a major issue in the United States. Government estimates indicate that Americans waste between 30 and 40 percent of the overall food supply on an annual basis. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), consumers are responsible for nearly 90 billion pounds of food waste each year, which equates to 20 percent of the U.S. food supply. And while perfectly good food goes to waste, approximately 40 million Americans are food insecure. USDA, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and others have initiated the “Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions” program, members of which are committing to a 50 percent reduction in food waste by 2030.
  • On October 30, the USDA, EPA, and United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a new partnership with the Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA), formalizing industry education and outreach efforts with FWRA’s founding partners, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Food Marketing Institute, and the National Restaurant Association. The new Memorandum of Understanding is part of a larger effort from federal agencies, dubbed the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative, which aims to reduce food loss and waste through community investments, education and outreach, voluntary programs, public-private partnerships, tool development, technical assistance, event participation, and policy discussion.
  • The announcement comes on the heels of ongoing Congressional efforts to address food waste, including the establishment of a House Food Waste Caucus and the introduction of legislation designed to end consumer confusion by creating a national standard for date marking of food. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has also initiated efforts to combat food waste, including encouraging manufacturers to use labels that clearly indicate when dates refer to quality, rather than safety, in an effort to dissuade consumers from prematurely disposing of safe food products.