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Federal Interagency Collaboration to Reduce Food Loss and Waste

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) signed a formal agreement (PDF, 579 KB) to reduce food loss and waste in October 2018. The three agencies renewed the agreement (PDF, 724 KB) in December 2020, reaffirming their commitment to improve coordination and communication efforts to better educate Americans on the impacts and importance of reducing food loss and waste.

Through the Initiative, the agencies affirm their shared commitment to reduce food loss and waste. They also agree to coordinate action to leverage government resources to reduce food loss and waste, including action to educate Americans on the impacts and importance of reducing food loss and waste.

Individually and collectively, these agencies contribute to the Initiative, encourage long-term reductions and work toward the goal of reducing food loss and waste in the United States. These actions include research, community investments, education and outreach, voluntary programs, public-private partnerships, tool development, technical assistance, event participation, and policy discussion.

To achieve the vision for the Initiative, the agencies developed a strategy to prioritize and coordinate their efforts. In development of this strategy, the agencies built on information from several sources, including, but not limited to:


PRIORITY AREA 1: Enhance Interagency Coordination

Improving interagency coordination will enable USDA, EPA and FDA to use government resources more efficiently and effectively. An interagency, collaborative mechanism will be established to reduce programmatic redundancies and leverage complimentary activities.

PRIORITY AREA 2: Increase Consumer Education and Outreach Efforts

Households are a major source of food loss and waste in the United States. Most consumers are unaware of the consequences of food loss and waste. A coordinated consumer education effort by USDA, EPA and FDA, in conjunction with public, private or non-profit partners, has the potential to raise awareness, motivate consumers to take action and accelerate progress to reduce food loss and waste.

PRIORITY AREA 3: Improve Coordination and Guidance on Food Loss and Waste Measurement

Enhanced coordination and voluntary guidance regarding measurement of food loss and waste will reduce confusion and help establish clearer goals and strategies. Improved and coordinated methodologies can identify missed opportunities and better communicate progress.

PRIORITY AREA 4: Clarify and Communicate Information on Food Safety, Food Date Labels, and Food Donations

Confusion about food safety guidelines, date labels and food donation results in food loss and waste at retailers and in homes across the country. Establishing and communicating clearer, coordinated voluntary guidance on food date labels and liability protection around food donation could help increase food recovery and lead to reductions in food waste and food insecurity.

PRIORITY AREA 5: Collaborate with Private Industry to Reduce Food Loss and Waste Across the Supply Chain

The food industry, including processors, manufacturers, distributors, retailers and foodservice establishments, has an important role in reducing food loss and waste. Showcasing and building partnerships through efforts such as the USDA/EPA U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions, as well as connecting stakeholders with food waste reduction technologies, will help stimulate further efforts throughout the food supply chain.

PRIORITY AREA 6: Encourage Food Waste Reduction by Federal Agencies in their Respective Facilities

Federal facilities operate food service venues, including cafeterias and concessions, and manage events. Encouraging the reduction of food loss and waste at these facilities and events will demonstrate federal leadership and implementation of the administration’s priorities.

USDA, EPA and FDA, in conjunction with public, private and nonprofit partners, create an annual inventory of actions. The most recent inventory is for May 2020 – April 2021: inventory of actions (PDF, 666 KB)

Contact Us:
Dr. Jean Buzby
USDA Food Loss and Waste Liaison