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Best Practices to Minimize Food Waste

EO Guidance Document #
Resource type
Policy Memos
Guidance Documents
Resource Materials
PDF Icon Policy Memo (268.00 KB)
DATE:August 15, 2019
SUBJECT:Best Practices to Minimize Food Waste of Privately Donated Foods to The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) State Agencies and Emergency Feeding Organizations
TO:Regional Directors
Special Nutrition Programs
State Directors
All TEFAP State Agencies

On Dec.20, 2018, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill) (PL 115-334) was signed into law. Section 4018 of the Farm Bill amends section 203(D) of the Emergency Food Assistance Act of 1983 (EFAA), directing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to issue guidance outlining best practices to minimize food waste of commodities donated under section 203(D)(a) of the EFAA. Section 203(D) of the EFAA and this memorandum refer to the commodities donated by state and local agencies, charitable institutions, or other persons that supplement USDA Foods provided through TEFAP.

Pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (5 USC § 801 et seq.), the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs designated this memorandum as a not major rule, as defined by 5 USC § 804(2).

TEFAP state agencies and eligible recipient agencies (ERAs) are well positioned to aid in USDA’s efforts to address the problem of food loss and waste. TEFAP state agencies and ERAs work to feed those in need in part by facilitating the donation of food that may otherwise go to waste. These efforts are an effective method of reducing food waste throughout the supply chain. By using methods such as the first-in-first-out (FIFO) system of inventory management, distinguishing between the various forms of product date labeling, and accounting for foods with special handling requirements, TEFAP state agencies and ERAs can assist with USDA’s goal of reducing our nation’s food waste.

TEFAP state agencies and ERAs may also reference the following list of resources for more information on best practices for minimizing food waste:

TEFAP state agencies are encouraged to share this information with TEFAP ERAs. TEFAP ERAs with questions should contact their TEFAP state agencies for more information about state and local food waste resources.

Laura Castro
Food Distribution Division

Page updated: December 21, 2023

The contents of this guidance document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.