The US Food Waste Challenge, launched by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), hopes to tackle the rising problem of food waste in the US. It is estimated that 30-40% of the nation’s food supply is currently wasted either at retail, restaurants or in homes.
All businesses in the food chain will be invited to take part, as will other government agencies. The Challenge aims to have 400 partner organisations by 2015, and double that number by 2020.
The EPA will help participants improve the sustainability of their food supply chains by giving them access to data management software and technical assistance.
The USDA will initiate a range of activities as part of the campaign, including consumer education, activities in the food school programme and the development of new technologies to reduce waste. It will also work with the food industry to make it easier to divert misbranded meat and poultry products to the hungry, and pilot-test a meat-composting programme to reduce meat sent to landfill.
Launching the campaign, agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack said: “The US enjoys the most productive and abundant food supply on earth, but too much of this food goes to waste. Not only could this food be going to folks who need it – we also have an opportunity to reduce the amount of food that ends up in America’s landfills.”
EPA acting administrator Bob Perciasepe pointed out that reducing food waste would not only help combat hunger and reduce costs, but also help combat climate change. “Food in landfills decomposes to create potent greenhouse gases,” he said.
“With the help of partners across the country, we can ensure that our nation’s food goes to our families and those in need – not the landfill.”