USDA, EPA Partner To Tackle Food Waste

The USDA and EPA kicked off the US Food Waste Challenge today in Washington, D.C. The launch event, timed to coincide (loosely) with World Environment Day, featured speeches on the importance of food waste from Secretary of Ag Tom Vilsack and acting EPA chief Bob Persiasepe, in addition to private sector partners.

image courtesy of USDABy just about any indication, it was a great day for food waste awareness. To hear the Secretary of Ag utter the words “…too much of [our] food goes to waste” was nearly unthinkable five years ago. And then to have the head of the EPA utter the 40 percent waste figure was equally exciting.

The main objective of the initiative, according to the USDA press release:

The goal of the U.S. Food Waste Challenge is to lead a fundamental shift in how we think about and manage food and food waste in this country.

Not an insignificant goal there. And the Challenge also includes secondary goals of 400 partner organizations by 2015 and 1,000 by 2020. As of now, there are about 10 organizations listed as participants, but many of the 200 or so groups committed to a similar EPA effort are likely to join.

Whether or not it was a great day for food waste reduction action remains to be seen. That will largely depend on whether or not there are actual changes in school food waste–a massive, yet complicated source of waste. And whether or not food companies, like those in the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, make good on their pledges to trim their waste. And whether or not the various USDA services honor their commitments seen here.

At the very least, it will be interesting. And for us individuals out there, the campaign site has some helpful resources for consumers. Onwards and upwards!


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