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Total participation in the U.S. Food Waste Challenge is comprised of participants who join via filling out USDA’s U.S. Food Waste Challenge form and participants of EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge.  Participants who do both are listed on both websites but are not double counted in the net total participant count.  Participation is updated quarterly.

Total net participation in the U.S. Food Waste Challenge: 4,024

  • Participants in USDA's Food Waste Challenge: 3,347
  • Participants in EPA's Food Recovery Challenge: 892

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Federal Marketing Orders

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) works with local committees of growers and handlers through federal marketing orders to help ensure the high quality of produce on the market.  Approximately 3% of the imported fresh produce that is subject to inspection under the federal marketing orders is turned back or destroyed every year because it does not meet the same or comparable standards as the domestic product.  This amounted to over 48 million pounds in 2012. 

Most federal marketing orders allow for these products to be donated to charitable institutions or to be recycled into other products. To facilitate greater donation (and less disposal) of imported fruits, vegetables and nuts that do not meet marketing order requirements,  AMS compiled a list of charitable organizations eligible to accept donated produce.  AMS then disseminated this list to AMS Fruit and Vegetable Program Specialty Crop Inspection Division employees at major ports and asked employees to provide this information to importers who have produce that does not meet the requirements. 

The following are examples of federal marketing orders that allow donations or alternate uses of fresh produce that does not meet federal marketing order requirements.