New York - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy announced the United States' first-ever national food waste reduction goal, calling for a 50-percent reduction by 2030. As part of the effort, the federal government will lead a new partnership with charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, the private sector and local, state and tribal governments to reduce food loss and waste in order to improve overall food security and conserve our nation's natural resources.

The announcement occurs just one week before world leaders gather at the United Nations General Assembly in New York to address sustainable development practices, including sustainable production and consumption.

A wide array of voices from across the food chain applauded the announcement of the first national standards for food waste reduction. Here's what they had to say:

Jonathan Mayes, Senior Vice President, Albertsons

"Reducing food waste is an important priority for Albertsons Companies. As part of the U.S. Food Waste Challenge, we are focused on source reduction as well as providing food to other good causes such as hunger relief organizations and animal feed."

Jilly Stephens, Executive Director, City Harvest

"City Harvest appreciates the inclusion of hunger relief groups as part of this national goal to combat food waste. Over 49 million Americans live in food insecure households, including nearly 1 in 5 New Yorkers, and yet 31% of our country's food supply is wasted. Food rescue is an important way that we can help bridge the gap between the manufacturers, producers, distributors, and consumers who have too much food and our neighbors who are struggling to put meals on their tables regularly."

Eric Ripert, Chef and Co-owner of Le Bernardin and Vice Chairman, City Harvest Board of Directors

"At Le Bernardin we have donated food to City Harvest for nearly 20 years. We recognize that the great amount of excess food in our country can be used to feed hungry Americans and reduce food waste at the same time. Setting a national goal for food waste reduction is an important step to help address many issues and we are proud to stand with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency in this new initiative."

Bill Thomas, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Feeding America

"Feeding America applauds U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency for the significant food waste reduction goal announced today. As a leader in the recovery and donation of nutritious food to feed struggling Americans, our network of food banks and food rescue organizations have firsthand knowledge of the challenges involved in reducing food waste. We are excited to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency and the food industry to make these food waste reduction goals a reality."

Leslie Sarasin, President and CEO, Food Marketing Institute

"Food retailers are community minded, neighborhood focused and intimately connected to the lives of their shoppers; as such they work closely with their customers on those issues touching both the heart strings and the purse strings. Reducing food waste at all levels in the food chain - farm, factory, store and home - is certainly one of those issues with economic and emotional appeal."

Jason Ackerman, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, FreshDirect

"FreshDirect is pleased to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency and on this initiative. Reducing food waste is a significant issue facing food retailers. Our work with community partners like City Harvest to reduce food loss can be a model for others, but clearly more can be done. FreshDirect is proud to stand with President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on this important initiative."

Erin Fitzgerald Sexson, Senior Vice President, Global Sustainability for the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy

"Under the leadership of the nation's dairy farmers, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy is working to promote a more sustainable food system. Recognizing that food recovery is an important approach for addressing hunger, safeguarding the environment and reducing costs, we applaud the establishment of a national goal for food waste reduction. Likewise, dairy farms and businesses are making public commitments to measure, reduce recover and recycle food waste, including participation in the Environmental Protection Agency Food Recovery Challenge and the U.S. Food Waste Challenge."

Kris Charles, Vice President, Kellogg Company

"As a global food company, Kellogg believes we have a significant role to play in helping to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. We support the USDA and EPA in their efforts to launch the nation's first food waste reduction goals and are committed to doing our part to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level, and to reduce food losses along the production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses by 2030."

Deborah Hecker Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility, Sodexo North America

"Most people don't realize how much food they waste every day. As the 18th largest employer in the world, Sodexo is committed to identifying sustainable holistic solutions that reduce or repurpose food that would otherwise be wasted. We are proud of our longstanding relationships with the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Agriculture and look forward to working with them on a greater scale to address this issue with the release of the food waste reduction goals."

Jeremy Kranowitz, Executive Director, Sustainable America

"Sustainable America has a goal to increase food availability by 50% by 2035, and we see reducing the amount of wasted food as a major part of the solution. We commend the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency for their leadership and collaborative focus on this critical issue."

Jason Wadsworth, Sustainability Manager, Wegmans Food Markets

"Food waste is a critical issue facing food retailers. Recognizing food recovery as an important approach to addressing hunger, protecting our natural resources, and minimizing costs, we applaud the establishment of a national goal for food waste reduction. Wegmans is proud to stand with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency on this important initiative."

Craig Hanson, Global Director of Food, Forests, and Water, World Resources Institute

"The first ever U.S. national goal on food waste reduction will bring multiple benefits for food security, natural resources, and the economy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency are showing leadership by announcing a national goal that will ensure more food gets from the farm to the fork and will save consumers money. The new U.S. national goal is also consistent with Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 that focuses on food loss and waste reduction."