Reducing food waste in the national strategy on hunger and health

Reducing food waste in the national strategy on hunger and health

The The White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, which took place on September 28, 2022, was long overdue. Came at that time food prices At its highest level ever! and here She highlighted opportunities to advance local health and prosperity through the food system. At the conference, the Biden administration issued a National Strategy About hunger, nutrition and healthwhich has been informed through public comments and previous hearings. There are many other issues that run across these topics (including racial justice, the environment, and many more), but this blog will focus on strategy as it relates to food waste.

Packaged merchandise is on display at the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, DC.
Photo: Preston Kerris/USDA

Food waste is located at the intersection All topics in the conference title. Ideally, by preventing food from becoming waste, redistributing surplus food, and recycling leftovers, more nutritious foods would be available to people and would create more food security while reducing climate change emissions.

What is included in the national strategy?

Federal government obligations: There are five overarching pillars of the strategy:

  1. improving access to and affordability of food;
  2. integrating nutrition and health;
  3. Empowering all consumers to make and access healthy choices;
  4. support physical activity for all;
  5. Promoting nutrition and food security research.

Based on these pillars, The White House has made pledges and calls for action, explicit or tangential Effect on food waste. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), The Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are leading the development of an entire government strategy to reduce food loss and waste.
  • The The Food and Drug Administration will update its Food Code — which provides state, tribal, local and territory regulators with a template for updating food retail and service industry regulations — to include food donation recommendations.
  • The Treasury will show the Enhanced Charitable Deduction Account to support businesses that donate food.
  • The administration will help move forward with free healthy school meals for all.
  • across different substrates, There have been many commitments to strengthening local and regional food systems by creating new programs, funding existing ones, and providing more assistance with grant applications.
  • There was also sCommitments and general recommendations to capitalize on existing programs to fund food rescue, increase research on climate and diets, and expand nutrition education.

call for fullcommunity approach: The strategy is right I recognize that we need everyone to contribute if we are to achieve systems change. The strategy says, “State, local, and territory governments should enact policies to reduce and restore food waste.” These entities are necessary to reduce food waste because waste is typically managed at the municipal level in the United States through the NRDC Food ProjectAnd the We have tested and co-developed models to reduce food waste. NRDC’s Software and Policy Toolkit . is designedor local governments to use to motivate their own initiatives. additional case studiesAnd the Tools and guides Can Implementation support.

Business, Academic and Charitable Commitments: Besides the release of the National Strategy, the White House has also requested its publication and publication Commitments From Corporations, academia, non-profit organizations, and charities to support nutrition and health. Many commitments centered around donating money or food. For example, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) will work with its members to donate 2 billion meals in 2023 to food recovery organizations and will promote consumer education about healthy foods (reaching at least 100 million consumers each year from 2023 to 2030). It is encouraging to see more corporate involvement in reducing food waste and surplus food donations in the period since 2017, when we updated Lost Report Documented company activities.

What is missing from the national strategy?

NRDC and partners Presenter comments Before the conference date How can the conference address food loss and waste? While it is encouraging to see some of our recommendations in the strategy, other influential recommendations were not included. Some of our other top recommendations include:

  • Monotheism date labels: confused about what Date labels mean It leads to throwing away a lot of good foodCurrently, there is a mixture of laws that differ from one state to another. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) advocates two systems of labels, one indicating freshness and one indicating food safety. Standardizing date labels across the country, including widely educating, would prevent premature food disposal.
  • Modernization Bill Emerson’s Good Samaritan Law: The Bill Emerson Act provides liability protection for Lots of food donations. It was people Connection To extend liability protections to include more types of food donations, such as direct donations to individuals.
  • Focus on the preVenting leftovers in the first place: a lot of The commitments focus on donating food or money, but we haven’t seen much, if any, that discussed how they would prevent excess food in the first place. Reduce the source, or prevent the increase, is the top of food recovery hierarchy The best way to tackle food waste.

What’s Next?

In order to reduce food waste and create a healthier society, The commitments and recommendations of the national strategy must be implemented and the programs and benefits distributed equitably. We can hold actors accountable, from the federal government to businesses, and advocate for more action around food loss and waste in conversations about hunger, nutrition and health. We must take advantage of the momentum created by the White House Conference over the next year to pass legislation, such as the Agriculture Act, and work through Other channelsAnd the like federal agenciesto provide more funding and support, and transform the foundations of our current wasteful and unhealthy system.

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