The USDA, EPA and FDA have jointly published for public comment a new strategy aimed to prevent food loss and reduce food waste.The outlines targeted actions by the agencies to mitigate the environmental repercussions of wasted food, including its impact on climate, according to a news release.
“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,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in the release. “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.”
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.
The USDA said this new proposal builds on its work to reduce food loss and waste through research and data to drive new food innovations and technologies, implementing 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 the USDA, EPA and FDA could take. Some of the priority USDA actions include:
· Investing $30 million in the composting and food waste reduction cooperative agreements.
· Expanding partnerships with the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s 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.
· 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.by