Activist Group Sues USDA For Not Providing Records Under FOIA Law
Source: Good and Water Watch
via Oklahoma Farm Report - 07 Nov 2019
Thursday morning, Food & Water Watch filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for denying repeated requests for data and critical records used to create the agency’s New Swine Inspection System (NSIS).
The NSIS, finalized in September 2019, is a fundamental gutting of the country’s food-safety system finalized in September 2019. It removes swine inspection responsibilities from government control and into the hands of the pork industry. Government employees who were previously assigned crucial animal and carcass inspections will now be replaced by plant employees.
Food & Water Watch submitted four separate FOIA requests during the new inspection rulemaking process. USDA dragged its heels in responding to the requests for the last 20 months, even though the agency had granted expedited processing so that the information requested ostensibly could be made public and available for the public to comment. It failed to disclose records, ignored clarification requests, and released inaccurate, non-responsive records. With one of the requests, the agency went so far as to indicate that it was simply quality checking the data before its imminent release, only to deny the request altogether, reversing course and claiming it does not track the requested data.
Now the new rule has been finalized without revealing how it will truly affect public health.
In answer, Food & Water Watch Senior Staff Attorney, Zach Corrigan said:
more, including link to complaint