U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was joined by Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe to announce the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new Food Waste Challenge. In response, the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, comprised of leading food retail, food manufacturing and foodservice companies, issued the following statement on June 4:
“The Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA) is pleased to join the USDA’s Food Waste Challenge as a founding partner. This is a natural extension of FWRA’s mission, which is to reduce the volume of food waste sent to landfill by addressing the root causes of waste within our operations, and securing pathways to donate safe, nutritious food, or recycle unavoidable food waste.
“Recognizing our collective opportunity to lead on the issue of food waste reduction, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Food Marketing Institute, and the National Restaurant Association announced a cross-industry initiative to address the issue in 2011, now called the Food Waste Reduction Alliance. Today, the FWRA includes more than 30 manufacturing, retailing, and foodservice companies, along with expert partners from the anti-hunger community and waste management sector.
“By participating in the USDA Food Waste Challenge, the FWRA can better communicate the industry’s efforts to outside constituencies and work to engage and collaborate throughout the value chain and with other stakeholders. As an added commitment, FWRA will look to provide new platforms to educate and engage the food retail, food manufacturing, and restaurant industries on food waste opportunities, challenges, and best practices. One example of how the FWRA will achieve this end is by producing a best practices guide and toolkit this fall, which will help individual companies accelerate efforts to reduce food waste. The toolkit will contain examples of efforts already underway, guidelines, and checklists.
“Importantly, the FWRA will also research, identify, and report on key barriers that inhibit or complicate the industry’s progress in achieving its primary goals – to reduce, recover, and recycle food waste – and recommend strategies to overcome these obstacles.
“We look forward to working with the USDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and on behalf of the companies and industries we represent, respectfully acknowledge the important work of these agencies and all of the public-private partnerships focused on the common goal of reducing food waste.”