Trump agencies, NASDA announce food waste strategies
The Agriculture Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration this week announced a federal interagency strategy to address food waste, while the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture signed a pledge that state agriculture officials would also mount an effort to reduce food waste.
“The new strategy prioritizes six key action areas, such as improving consumer education and food labeling, that will help us maximize the value of our food resources,” noted EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.
“Our nation’s agricultural abundance should be used to nourish those in need, not fill the trash,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “As the world’s population continues to grow to nearly 10 billion people by 2050 and the food systems continue to evolve, now is the time for action to educate consumers and businesses alike on the need for food waste reduction. I look forward to what the future holds on this initiative and how we can work together to change the hearts and minds of Americans to reduce food waste.”
“The issue of food safety and food waste are intertwined, with research showing that there is confusion over the meaning behind date labeling terminology on food packages that have an adverse effect on food waste. Contrary to popular beliefs, date labeling on food packages are often intended to communicate time ranges for optimal food quality, not safety,” said FDA Deputy Commissioner Frank Yiannas. “With more than one-third of all available food uneaten through waste or loss and 1 in 6 Americans suffering a foodborne illness each year, it’s clear that many people are unnecessarily discarding food in fear of food safety issues. This is why the FDA is focused on taking steps to make date labeling on foods clearer and easier for consumers to determine when a food should be discarded. We remain committed to working with the EPA and USDA to better educate Americans on how to reduce food waste and how to do it safely.”
At a Trump administration event recognizing April as “Winning on Reducing Food Waste Month,” NASDA CEO Barb Glenn, New Mexico Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried pledged that the state departments of agriculture would also reduce food waste.
“We are identifying opportunities to mitigate food waste with our federal and industry partners,” Witte said. “It is estimated that 30 to 40 percent of food is lost throughout the supply chain, including unharvested crops. Regaining lost food is a must to sustainably provide for everyone.”
–The Hagstrom Report