USDA sets food waste reduction goal

by Erica Shaffer
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The USDA, in a public-private partnership, set the first national food waste reduction goal.
The government's food waste challenge is a means to improve food security and conserve natural resources, USDA said.

NEW YORK – The US Dept. of Agriculture announced the first national goal to reduce food waste — 50 percent by 2030. The public-private partnership aims to improve food security conserve natural resources. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy made the announcements one week before the United Nations General Assembly gathers in New York to address sustainable production and consumption practices.

The partnership includes charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, the private sector and local, state and tribal governments.

“Food retailers are community minded, neighborhood focused and intimately connected to the lives of their shoppers; as such they work closely with their customers on those issues touching both the heart strings and the purse strings. Reducing food waste at all levels in the food chain — farm, factory, store and home — is certainly one of those issues with economic and emotional appeal,” Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of the Food Marketing Institute, said in a news release.

Jonathan Mayes, senior vice president of the Albertsons supermarket chain, said the company has focused its food waste reduction efforts on source reduction in addition to providing food for hunger relief organizations and animal feed.

Jason Wadsworth, sustainability manager at Wegmans Food Markets, said in the news release that food waste is a critical issue facing food retailers.

“Recognizing food recovery as an important approach to addressing hunger, protecting our natural resources, and minimizing costs, we applaud the establishment of a national goal for food waste reduction,” he said. “Wegmans is proud to stand with the US Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency on this important initiative.”

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