USDA, EPA, and FDA renew formal agreement aimed at reducing food waste
(USDA) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the renewal of the joint agency formal agreement (PDF, 724 KB) including the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative. The agreement reaffirms the agencies’ commitment to improve coordination and communication efforts to better educate Americans on the impacts and importance of reducing food loss and waste. Food loss and waste negatively impact food security, the economy, communities, and the environment.
Since the Trump Administration launched the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative, the collaborative effort has achieved great success. Public-private partnerships, like the United States Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions, are key to successfully reducing food loss and waste by implementing proven strategies and sharing best practices. In 2020, the Trump Administration welcomed ten new businesses and organizations to the 2030 Champions.
Today’s renewed three-year agreement will continue to build on these successful partnerships and reiterate our shared commitment to work towards the national goal of reducing food loss and waste by 50 percent by 2030.
“The United States is getting a handle on its serious food waste problem,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The three-year renewal of this joint agency agreement will help our country achieve its ambitious goal of cutting food waste by 50 percent by 2030.”
“Our nation’s agricultural abundance should be used to nourish those in need, not fill the trash,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “As the world’s population continues to grow and the food systems continue to evolve, now is the time to continue to educate consumers and businesses alike on the need for food waste reduction.”
“We’ve seen great strides in food loss and waste reduction since first entering the joint agency formal agreement with our federal colleagues, and through collaborative efforts with our public and private partners,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. “At FDA, we’ve encouraged food manufacturers and retailers to standardize the way quality-based date labels are used on packaged foods and developed videos and materials to educate consumers. With these continued partnerships and important efforts, we’re on track to see a 50 percent reduction of food waste by 2030.”
As part of the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative, EPA, USDA, and FDA issued its FY2019-2020 Federal Interagency Strategy in April 2019, which identifies six priority areas on which the agencies will focus their efforts to reduce food loss and waste in the U.S. In May 2020, the Federal Interagency Strategy was updated by listing contributing efforts for each of the strategy’s six priority action areas:
- Priority Area 1: Enhance Interagency Coordination
- Priority Area 2: Increase Consumer Education and Outreach Efforts
- Priority Area 3: Improve Coordination and Guidance on Food Loss and Waste Measurement
- Priority Area 4: Clarify and Communicate Information on Food Safety, Food Date Labels, and Food Donations
- Priority Area 5: Collaborate with Private Industry to Reduce Food Loss and Waste Across the Supply Chain
- Priority Area 6: Encourage Food Waste Reduction by Federal Agencies in their Respective Facilities
The agencies also launched partnerships with organizations at the forefront of food loss and waste reduction efforts. In April 2019, the agencies signed an agreement with ReFED, a network of the nation’s leading business, nonprofit, foundation, and government leaders committed to reducing U.S. food waste. In October 2019, another partnership with the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, formalized collaboration on education and outreach efforts with three major sectors of the supply chain: food manufacturing, retail, and restaurant and food service.
The Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative is a collaborative effort (PDF, 579 KB) among USDA, EPA, and FDA to reduce food loss and waste through combined and agency-specific actions. Individually and collectively, these agencies contribute to the initiative, encourage long-term food waste reductions, and work toward the goal of reducing food loss and waste in the U.S. These actions include research, community investments, education and outreach, voluntary programs, public-private partnerships, tool development, technical assistance, event participation, and policy discussion.
For more information on agency efforts contributing to the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative, visit:
Meeting the national goal of cutting food waste in half by 2030 will take a sustained commitment from everyone. Success requires action from the entire food system.
Facts About Food Waste
- EPA estimates that more food (over 70 billion pounds) reaches landfills than any other material in everyday trash, constituting 24 percent of discarded municipal solid waste.
- Landfills are the third largest source of human-related methane emissions in the U.S.
- Food waste not only impacts landfill space and emissions, it negatively impacts the economy. USDA estimates the value of food loss and waste for retailers and consumers each year to be over $161 billion.
- Wasted food also results in unnecessary expenditures of U.S. domestic energy resources. Every time food is lost or wasted, all the energy that went into producing that food is also wasted.
Join the Food Waste Reduction Efforts
Businesses and organizations not in a position to make the 50 percent reduction commitment may be interested in participating in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge: www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/food-recovery-challenge-frc.
State, local, tribal and territorial governments interested in making a commitment to food waste reduction can sign the Winning on Reducing Food Waste pledge.