The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) jointly published for public comment the Draft National Strategy for Reducing Food Loss and Waste and Recycling Organics. The Strategy outlines targeted actions by USDA, EPA and FDA to prevent food loss and waste in order to mitigate the environmental repercussions of wasted food, including its impact on climate.

“Food loss and waste poses a real challenge to agriculture, food and the climate. In order to tackle this problem, and in turn build a resilient food system and mitigate climate impacts, we must explore and implement innovative solutions,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This joint effort between USDA, EPA, and FDA will enhance interagency coordination and represents a vital step towards preventing food loss and waste, increasing organic waste recycling, and promoting economic opportunity.”

Today’s announcement was made at COP28, the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, and advances USDA’s goals to enhance agriculture’s ability to address global food security, manage the consequences of climate change, and engage in innovative practices. This strategy is a deliverable in the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, released in conjunction with the historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in September 2022.

The draft strategy sets four objectives:

  • Preventing the loss of food where possible.
  • Preventing the waste of food where possible.
  • Increasing the recycling rate for all organic waste.
  • Supporting policies that incentivize and encourage food loss and waste prevention and organics recycling.

It builds on USDA’s prior work to reduce food loss and waste, including by providing support through research and data to develop and commercialize new food innovations and technologies, implementing compost and food waste reduction grants, and increasing the number of U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions.

For each objective, the draft strategy highlights actions that USDA, EPA, and FDA could take. Some of the priority USDA actions include:

  • Investing $30 million in the Composting and Food Waste Reduction (CFWR) Cooperative Agreements.
  • Expanding partnerships with NIFA food system programs to further develop educational materials, research and outreach for food loss and waste prevention.
  • Funding research and development on innovative new packaging technology to extend the shelf life of food and prevent loss.

USDA will also continue outreach to businesses on the liability protections afforded by the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act. USDA invites comments on the Draft National Strategy for Reducing Food Loss and Waste and Recycling Organics. The public comment period will open on Dec. 5 for 30 days. Share comments through, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OLEM-2022-0415.

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