For the first time in American history, the White House has announced the institution of the country’s first-ever national food waste reduction goal — 50 percent by the year 2030.
Currently, food loss and waste accounts for 31 percent — or 133 billion pounds — of the total food supply available to American retailers and consumers, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
What’s more, it is estimated that the reduction of food waste by 15 percent would provide enough food for more than 25 million Americans every year, dramatically reducing the spread of food insecurity.
Led by the USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the initiative will call for the participation of national charities, faith-based organizations, the private sector, and local governments “in order to improve overall food security and conserve our nation's natural resources,” the USDA announced in press release.
The announcement occurs just one week before world leaders are scheduled to gather at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City to address sustainable production and consumption of food.
Incidentally, the announcement also follows on the heels of New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman’s departure from the paper in order to join a California food startup — announced in a farewell column in which Bittman expressed disappointment in the White House’s inaction on select areas of food policy.
“The United States enjoys the most productive and abundant food supply on earth, but too much of this food goes to waste,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement. “An average family of four leaves more than two million calories, worth nearly $1500, uneaten each year. Our new reduction goal demonstrates America's leadership on a global level in getting wholesome food to people who need it, protecting our natural resources, cutting environmental pollution and promoting innovative approaches for reducing food loss and waste.”