The recently signed Food Donation Improvement Act aims to reduce food waste and promote sustainability by providing updated guidelines for food donation and expanding protections for large entities looking to contribute.
Sustainability news: US President Biden has signed the Food Donation Improvement Act (FDIA) into law, marking a significant step forward in the United States’ efforts to combat food waste and support sustainability. The FDIA amends the 1996 Emerson Act, which initially offered protections for large entities that donated food to organizations addressing food insecurity. By calling on the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide updated guidelines around food donation, the FDIA aims to reduce food waste and lessen the legal liability of donating unsafe food to organizations such as food banks.
The United States of America is the world’s largest contributor to food waste, discarding nearly 40 million tons of food annually, which equates to 30 to 40% of the entire US food supply. Globally, approximately 1.4 billion tons of food are wasted each year, contributing to 11% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to its environmental impact, food waste exacerbates food insecurity, an issue that has become increasingly prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, around 35 million people in the United States were classified as food insecure, a figure that has since risen to nearly 50 million.
To address this issue, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set a goal to reduce food loss and waste by 50% by 2030. The agency also established the Food Recovery Challenge, a competition based on its food recovery hierarchy that encourages organizations to set data-driven goals, implement targeted strategies, and report their results to compete for annual recognition from the EPA.
Improving the sustainability of food production and supply chains is crucial to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve this, farmers and producers need access to better technologies, data, and training. The best sustainability news would come from investments in improved technology to extend the shelf life of food, enhanced crop use, and developing more efficient materials and packaging. All of which can significantly contribute to national sustainability efforts. Additionally, regenerative agriculture and collaborations between technology companies, retailers and grocers are increasingly becoming popular approaches to enhancing sustainability within the food industry.
The Food Donation Improvement Act’s new guidelines will play a crucial role in encouraging more people and entities to donate food with confidence. Transparent communication about reduced liability and forthcoming US Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards will be essential for directing the most crucial food donations to the most appropriate destinations as quickly as possible.
Food sustainability news
In terms of sustainability news, it couldn’t be clearer. The Food Donation Improvement Act represents a major milestone in the United States’ ongoing efforts to tackle food waste and promote sustainability. By providing updated guidelines for food donation and expanding protections for large entities looking to donate food, the FDIA is expected to have a significant impact on reducing food waste and supporting food security initiatives. And all of that is without the potential effect of showing such leadership would have on the rest of the developed world.
It gets to the heart of what constitutes sustainability news: sustainability is all about using the resources we have wisely. There are easy, relatively economic wins in preventing food waste as well as the social and economic advantages that better distribution of food brings.
As the nation continues to confront the challenges of food waste and greenhouse gas emissions, the FDIA serves as a reminder of the importance of collective action and innovative solutions in achieving a more sustainable future.