USDA, EPA & FDA sign formal agreement to renew food waste programs

By Deniz Ataman

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Getty/Kosamtu
Source: Getty/Kosamtu

Related tags Usda Fda Food waste Epa

USDA, FDA, EPA and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), signed a formal agreement to renew the Federal Interagency Collaboration to Reduce Food Loss and Waste (FIFLAW) to reduce food waste and loss domestically and internationally.

USDA, FDA, EPA and USAID formally renewed the Federal Interagency Collaboration to Reduce Food Loss and Waste through education, community programs, public awareness, technical help and policy change, according to USDA​. This overall effort aims to drastically reduce food loss and waste in the US and around the world. According to the USDA, food loss and waste amount to a staggering 80 billion pounds annually​.

Additionally, USAID’s involvement will expand the program’s reach to international stakeholder “while better leveraging government resources,” the agency stated in a press release.

USDA and EPA expanded its membership of the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions from 30 members in March 2020 to roughly 50 currently. Members include businesses and organizations across the food supply chain that have made public commitments to reduce food loss and waste in its U.S. operations by 50% by 2030. Members include Danone North America, Smithfield Foods, Inc., Starbucks, Sysco and Tyson Foods.

USDA will fund two projects around research, consumer education

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture invested $4 million in research and consumer education, including $1.5 million towards Center for Research, Behavioral Economics and Extension on Food Loss and Waste (The Center), and $2.5 million for Pilot Consumer Education Campaign on Food Loss and Waste.

The two projects will be led by Purdue University and Ohio State University, respectively.

The Center, led by Purdue University, will engage underserved communities and younger generations by conducting research and outreach on policies and programs that address inefficiencies within the food system. The Center will also create a National Extension Food Loss and Waste strategy that will complement other federal guidance.

Ohio State University will pilot a consumer education campaign that includes resources to significantly decrease household food waste in the U.S. The pilot’s results will be implemented into an “education program for governmental and non-governmental organizations for local consumer food waste reduction campaigns.”

USDA invests $57m towards food loss, waste in recent years

FIFLAW was formed in Oct. 2018 and renewed in Dec. 2020. Since its formation, USDA invested $57 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds to reduce food loss and waste, including:

  • $30 million over three years for the Composting and Food Waste Reduction cooperative agreements, including $11.5 million for 38 cooperative agreements to divert food waste from landfills​.
  •  $15 million towards the Community Food Projects and Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) program to provide surplus wholesome food to individuals and connect together food producers, providers and food recovery organizations.
  • $10 million towards Food and Agriculture Service Learning Program in partnership with the National 4-H Council to provide education and strategies about preventing food loss and waste.        

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