USDA is made up of 33 different agencies and offices that are trying to find ways to reduce food waste. For example, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which is responsible for ensuring that the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe and correctly labeled, recently issued a new directive that makes it easier for safe, but misbranded products to be donated to local food banks and pantries. The new procedures allows establishments to donate these misbranded products without temporary label approval provided that the bills of lading for the product include certain information for verification.
As a result of this directive, in April 2014, FSIS was involved in the donation of approximately 84,310 pounds of misbranded pork sausage. The misbranded product was donated to the Westmoreland County Food Bank and Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. The product was subsequently distributed to multiple food pantries throughout the two counties.