Two federal agencies have launched the U.S. Food Waste Challenge with the support of several private sector organizations to reduce and recycle food waste.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), with the help of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), both Washington based, launched the program that calls for various stakeholders in the food chain – including producer groups, processors, manufacturers, retailers, communities, and other government agencies − to join the effort to reduce, recover and recycle food waste. Private-sector partners in the program include Rio Farms, Unilever, General Mills, the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, Rock and Wrap It Up! and Feeding America, according to a news release.

The goal of the challenge is to achieve a fundamental shift in the approach to managing food and food waste in the United States. The program’s goal is to have 400 partner organizations by 2015 and 1,000 by 2020.

USDA is initiating a range of efforts including activities to reduce waste in the school meals program, educating consumers about food waste and food storage, and developing new technologies to reduce food waste.