Center for Food Safety Sues USDA for Ignoring FOIA Requests About GE Crops
The Center for Food Safety (CFS) has filed a lawsuit against the U.S.
Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Animal and Plant Health
Inspection Service (APHIS) alleging that the agency has routinely failed
to respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for records
related to genetically engineered (GE) crops. Ctr. for Food Safety v.
Animal & Plant Health Inspection Serv., No. 15-1377 (D.D.C., filed August
CFS asserts that APHIS has unlawfully delayed its responses to at least
29 FOIA requests or appeals related to its decision to withdraw proposed
regulations that would update existing management of GE crops. “APHIS
has a track record of irresponsible and inadequate regulation of GE
crops,” CFS Staff Attorney Cristina Stella said in an August 25, 2015,
press release. “In the absence of thorough government oversight, public
access to information about these crops becomes all the more critical.
This lawsuit is necessary to stop APHIS from continuing to ignore
its duty to provide the public with information that affects farmers,
communities, and the environment.” In the complaint, CFS requests that
the court declare APHIS’ FOIA request handling as unlawful, direct the
organization to produce the records it requested and prohibit the agency
from continuing its “pattern or practice of failing to timely respond to
Plaintiff’s FOIA requests.”